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* MAY b 1900 * 



Division .J^^J 13 I 
Section.*.. iT-rl,^ cL 
No I 




THE PREACHER'S COMMENTARY 



ON THE 



BOOK OF GENESIS. 



THE 

§xzuhzxs (Eoniplet^ ^omiktiml 

COMMENTARY 



ON THE 



OLD TESTAMENT 

CON AN ORIGINAL PLAN). 



BY 



VAETOUS AUTHORS. 



LONDOK : 
RICHARD D. DICKINSON, 89, FARRINGDON STREET. 

1885. 



HOMILETICAL COMMENTARY 



ON THE BOOK OF 



GENESIS. 



CRA PThJJiS L to VIII. 

BY 

REV. J. S. 'eXELL, M.A. 

CHAPThJRS IX. to L. 

BY 

REV. T. H. LEALE, A.K.C 

(Author of Homiktlcal Commentanj on " Eixlesiastes." ) 



I.ONDON : 
RICHARD D. DICKINSON, 89, FARRINGDON STREET. 

18 85. 



Dabling & Son, 

Minerva Steam Printing Office, 

31, Eastcheap, E.g. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



Introduction 



FAOB 
1 



CHAPTER I. 

VERSES 

Critical Notes 

1—2 The Creator and His Work 

The Theology of Creation 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
3—5 The Creation of Light 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
6—8 The Atmosphere 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
9—13 The Sea and the Dry Laud 

Vegetation 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
14—19 The Heavenly Bodies 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
20—23 Fish and Fowl 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
24—26 The Animal World 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
21—28 The Creation of Man 

What is the Image of God in which Man was 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses • 
29—31 The Universe— God's Gift to Man 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 

Suggestive Illustrations for Chapter I. . 

CHAPTER II. 



Critical Notes 

1—3 The Divine Sabbath 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
4—7 The World without a Man 

Sugg&stive Comments on the Verses 
8—17 The Garden of Eden 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
18—25 The Creation of Woman 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 

Illustrations to Chapter II. 



Created 



o 
6 
9 

10 
14 
15 
16 
17 
18 
19 
20 
21 
22 
23 
24 
25 
26 
27 
27 
28 
28 



39 
39 
40 
41 
41 
43 
44 
45 
46 
49 



CHAPTER III. 

Critical Notes 

1—7 The First Great Temptation ... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 



53 
54 
56 



CONTENTS. 



VERSES 



PAGB 



8—12 The Sad Effects of Yielding- to Temptation 62 

13—21 The General Results of the Fall of our First Parents 65 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 67 

22—24 The Expulsion of Man from Eden 70' 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 71 

Illustrations to Chapter III 71 

CHAPTER IV. 

Critical Notes 78 

1,2 Domestic Life 78 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 80 

3—8 The True and False Worshipper of God 81 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 82 

9 — 16 The Bitter Curse which Sin brings upon an Individual Life ... 85 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 88 

16—18 The Future of a God-forsaken Life 89 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 90 

J9 — 26 Lamech 90 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 91 

Illustrations to Chapter IV 92 

CHAPTER V. 

Critical Notes 96 

1 — 32 Distinguished Men 96 

The Longevity of the Antediluvian Race 99 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 99 

Illustrations to Chapter V 103 

CHAPTER VI. 

Critical Notes 105 

1—8 A Degenerate World 105 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 109 

Extent of Man's Wickedness Ill 

Lonely Moral Goodness 112 

9 — 13 Noah, or a Good Man Living in Degenerate Times 113 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 114 

14 — 22 The Divinely-Achieved Safety of the Good, and its Connection 

with the Life-Giviug Agencies of the Material Universe... 115 

The Ark, a Type of the Scheme of Human Salvation ... 118 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 122 

Illustrations to Chapter VI 125 

CHAPTER VII. 

Critical Notes ... ... ... 130 

1—10 The Ark Completed; or, the Termination of definite Moral 

Service ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 131 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 133 

11—24 The Deluge ; or, the Judgments of God upon the Sin of Man 137 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 139 

Illustrations to Chapter VII 142 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

VERSES PAGE 

Critical Notes 146 

1 — 5 The Gradual Cessation of Divine Retribution ..- ... ... 146 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 148 

6 — 12 The Judicious Conduct of a Good Man in seeking to ascertain 

the Facts of Life, and his Relation thereto ... ... 150 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 152 

13—19 Man s Going Forth after the Judgments of God 153 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 154 

20 — 22 The Devout Conduct of a Good Man, after a Special Deliverance 

from Eminent Danger ... ... ... ... ... 155 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 157 

Illustrations to Chapter VIII. ... ... ... ... ... 158 

CHAPTER IX. 

Critical Notes 161 

1 — 7 The Divine Benediction on the New Humanity ... ... 162 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... •■• ... ... 167 

8 — 17 God's Covenant with the New Hunianit)' ... ... ... 170 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 174 

18, 19 The Factors of Human Culture 178 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 181 

20—27 The Lessons of Noah's Fall 182 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 184 

28, 29 The Years of Noah : their Solemn Lessons 188 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 189 

CHAPTER X. 

Critical Notes 189 

1—32 The First Ethnological Table 190 

Suggestive Comments on the Chapter ... ... ... ... 192 

Suggestive Comments on Special Portions ... ... ... 192 

Illustrations to Chapter IX. ... ... ... ... ... 193 

Illustrations to Chapter X 200 

CHAPTER XI. 

Critical Notes 205 

1—9 The Builders of Babel 206 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 209 

10 — 26 The Generations of Shem ... ... ... ... ... 214 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 215 

27 — 32 The Dawn of Abram's History... ••• ... ... ... 215 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 216 

Illustrations to Cha])ter XI. ... ... ... ... ... 218 

CHAPTER XII. 

Critical Notes 223 

1—3 The Call of Abraham 225 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses .. ... ... ... 229 

4 — 9 Abraliam on his Journey. — The Obedience of Faith ... ... 232 



CONTENTS. 



10—20 



1—4 



5—9 



10—13 



14—18 



1—12 



13—16 



17—20 



21—24 



1—3 



4—6 



■12 



13—14 



15, 16 



Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
Abram in Egypt, The Temptations and Trials of a Life of 
Faith 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Critical Notes 

The Believer Learning from his Great Enemy 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
Abram's Journey to the Place of the Altar 
Strife between Brethren... 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses . . . 

A Worldly Choice 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
The Saint's Comfort in Solitude 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
Illustrations to Chapter XII. ... 
Illustrations to Chapter XIII. ... 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Critical Notes 

Tlie First War on Record 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
Abram as a Warrior 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
Tlie True Priest for Mankind ... 
Melchizedek a Type of Christ . . . 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
'J'he Believer's Superiority to the World 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses .. 
Illustrations to Chapter XIV. ... 



CHAPTER XV. 



Critical Notes 



1 — 6 The Rationale of Faith in God 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses .. 
' — 21 The Confirmation of Faith 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses . . 

CHAPTER XVI. 



Critical Notes 

Forestalling God's Appointed Time 
Siiggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
The Evils of Abolishing Social Distinctions 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
Providence and the Outcast 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
The Retrospect of a Special Providence 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
The Conviction of a Special Providence : — 
Practical Effects .. . 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



PAGE 

235 

238 
241 



247 
247 
250 
252 
253 
256 
259 
260 
263 
266 
270 
275 



280 
281 
283 
286 
288 
290 
292 
294 
296 
297 
299 



306 
307 
310 
316 
320 



323 
324 
326 
328 
330 
333 
335 
338 
339 

341 
341 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

VERSES 

Critical Notes 

1, 2 Prej^aration for Fresh Spiritual Privileges 
Walking before God 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
3 — 8 The Second Stage of the Covenant 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 

9_14. The Covenant Seal 

Circumcision and Christian Baptism 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
15—22 The Clearer Revelation of the Covenant Blessings 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
23 — 27 Obedience to tiie Divine Voice ... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses .. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

Critical Notes 

1—8 The Duty of Hosjntality 

A Prelude to the Incarnation ... 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
9 — 15 The Conflict between Fear and Faith 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
16—19 The Secret of the Lord with Abraham 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
19 Family Religion ... 
20 — 22 God's Judgment on Nations 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
23 — 33 Intercesssory Prayer 

Sugge-tive Comments on the Verses 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Critical Notes 

1 — 3 The Eve of Judgment to the Righteous 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
4 — 11 The Eve of Judgments to Sinners 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
12 — 22 The Deliverance of the Righteous in the Time 
18 — 22 The Infirmities of the Heirs of Salvation 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
23—25 The Destruction of the Cities of the Plain 
Suggestive Comments on tlie Verses ... 

The Fate of Lot's Wife 

The Cause and Danger of Backsliding... 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ••• 
27—29 The Righteous Man's Retrospect of God's Gre 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
30 The FoUy of Seeking Our Own Choice 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
31 — 38 The Lessons of Lot's Dishonour 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

A 2 



of Jud 



ffment 



it Judi 



ments 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XX. 

VERSES 

Critical Notes 

1 — 7 Abraham's Repetition of His Old Fault 
Temptations 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses .. 

8—16 Morality Outside the Church 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
17, 18 An Efficacious Intercessory Prayer 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses .. 



the Power of Former 



PAGE 

429 

430 
432 
435 
436 
440 
440 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Critical Notes 

1 — 5 The Birth of Isaac 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
6 — 17 The Rejoicing at Isaac's Birth ... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
8 — 13 The Expulsion of Ishmael 
The Destinies of Ishmael 
The Allegory of Isaac and Ishmael 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
14 — 21 Hagar and Ishmael in the Wilderness 
Outcasts 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

22—32 Abraham, the Friend of Man 

Suggestive Comments on tlie Verses .. 

33, 34 Abraham, the Godly Man 

Suggestive Comments on tiie Verses ... 



The 



Sorrows of the 



441 
442 
444 
446 
447 
448 
450 
450 
452 

454 
455 
457 
458 
460 
461 



CHAPTER XXII. 

Critical Notes 

1—18 The Trial of Abraham's Faith 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

Critical Notes 

1, 2 Abraham in the House of Mourning ... 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
3 — 20 Abraham Burying his Dead 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

Critical Notes 

1 — 9 Abraham's Provision for the Marriage of his Son 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
10 — 14 The Embassy of Abraham's Servant ... 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
15—31 The Finger of Providence in the Appointment of a 
Isaac... 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

32—49 The Marriage Treaty 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



Bride for 



461 
462 
465 



473 
474 
475 

477 
479 



484 
485 
486 
490 
492 

494 
495 
499 
500 



CONTENTS. 



VERSES PAGE 

50—60 The Success of the Marriage Treaty 502 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ••• ... ... ... 502 

61—67 A Primeval Marriage 506 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 507 

CHAPTER XXV. 

Ceitical Notes 509 

1 — 6 The Last Years of Abraham 510 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 511 

7—11 The Death and Burial of Abraham 513 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 514 

The Life and Character of Abraham ... ... ... ... 517 

The First Period 518 

The Second Period 521 

12 — 18 The Generations of Ishmael 525 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... .. ... ... 526 

19 — 23 The Eeligious Character of Isaac ... ... ... ... 526 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 527 

24—28 Birth of Esau and Jacob 529 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 530 

29—34 The Sale of the Birthright ... 532 

Esau's Contempt of his Birthright improved ... ... ... 533 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 535 

CHAPTER XXVI. 

Critical Notes.-- 539 

1 — 5 The Covenant Renewed to Isaac ... ... ... 540 

The Famine 541 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 542 

6 — 11 Isaac's False Expedient .. ... ... ... ... ... £44 

Isaac's Falsehood ... ... ... ... ... ... 544 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... .. 545 

12—33 The Prosperity of Isaac 546 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 547 

34, 35 Esau's Marriage ... ... ... ••• ... ... ... 549 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 550 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

Critical Notes 550 

1 — 5 Isaac in the near Prospect of Death ... ... ... ... 551 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 552 

6 — 10 Rebekah's Cunning Plot in favour of Jacob •-. ... ... 553 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 554 

11 — 24 Rebekah's Cunning Plot Accepted and Carried Out by Jacob 554 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 555 

25 — 29 Isaac Blessing Jacob ... .•• ... ••• ••■ ••• 558 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... .. ... ... 559 

30 — 40 Esau's Disappointment of his Blessing ... ... ... . . 560 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... •• ... 560 

41 — 46 Esau's Resentment ... ... ••• ... ••• ... 563 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... •• 564 

Important Reflections Suggested by the Foregoing Narrative 565 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

VERSES 

Critical Notes 

1 — 5 The Beginning of Jacob's Pilgrimage ... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
6_9 Esau, the Type of Worldliness and Hyi)Ocrisy 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
10 — 22 Jacob's Vision 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

Critical Notes 

1 — 14 Jacob's Experience on his Journey 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
15 — 20 Jacob's Lowly Estate 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
21 — 28 Laban's Fraud on Jacob... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
29 — 35 Leah and Rachel ; their Trials and Compensations 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



CHAPTER XXX. 

Critical Notes 

1 — 13 Rachel's Impatience 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
14 — 21 Two Types of Religious Character 

Suggestive Connnents on tlie Verses 
22 — 24 God's Favour towards Rachel ... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
25—43 Jacob's New Contract of Service 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

CHAPTER XXXI, 

Critical Notes 

1 — 21 Jacob's Departure for Canaan ... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
22 — 42 Laban's Expostulation with Jacob and Jacob's Defence 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
43 — 55 Laban's Covenant with Jacob ... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

Critical Notes 

1, 2 Jacob's Visible and Invisible World 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
3 — 23 Jacob's Preparation for Meeting his Angry Brotlier 
Suggestive i'oninients on the Verses ... 
24 — 32 Jacoi" Wrestling with the Angel 

The Features of the Development of Ptevealed Faitli i 

Wrestling ... 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



Jacoh'g 



605 
605 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

VEESES 

Critical Notes 

1—16 The Reconciliation of Jacob and Esau ... 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

17 — 20 Jacob's Faith and Piety 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



PAGE 

608 
609 
609 
611 
611 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 



Critical Notes 



1 — 6 Dinah's Dishonour 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses . 

6 — 31 The Punishment of Dinah's Dishonour. 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses . 



612 
612 
612 
614 
614 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

Critical Notes 

1 — 15 Jacob's Second Journey to Bethel 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

16—20 The Death of Rachel 

Suggestive Comments on tlie Verses •■. 

21 — 26 Jacob's Twelve Sons 

27 — 29 The Death and Burial of Isaac ... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



616 
616 
618 
619 
620 
621 
621 
622 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

Critical Notes 

1 — 43 The History of the Generations of Esau 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



622 
623 
624 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

Critical Notes 

1^ — 17 The Commencement of Joseph's History 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
18 — 28 The Conspiracy to Murder Joseph 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
29 — 36 Jacob's Grief for his Son 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



624 
625 
626 
627 
628 
630 
631 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

Critical Notes 

1 — 30 The Character of Judah 

The Lessons of Judah's History... 
8—10 TheSinofOuau 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



632 
632 
633 
634 
634 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

VERSES PAGE 

Critical Notes 635 

1 — 6 The Prosperity of Joseph in the House of his First Master ... 636 

Sucfgestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 637 

7—12 The Temptation of Joseph 638 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 639 

13 — 18 The False Charge against Joseph ... ... ... ... 640 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 641 

19—23 Joseph in Prison... 642 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 642 



CHAPTER XL. 



Critical Notes 

1 — 23 Light upon Joseph's Destiny ... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 



643 

644 
645 



CHAPTER XLL 



Critical Notes 

1 — 8 Pharaoh's Dream 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
9 — 16 Joseph Summoned into Pharaoh's Presence 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
17 — 32 Joseph as a Prophet 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
33 — 36 Joseph as the Adviser of Pharaoh 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
37 — 45 Pharaoh Accepts Joseph's Advice 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
46 — 52 Joseph Advanced to Power and Place 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
53 — 57 The Seven Years of Famine 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 



649 
650 
651 
651 
653 
654 
654 
655 
656 
656 
657 
658 
659 
660 
661 



CHAPTER XLH. 



Critical Notes 

1, 2 The Famine in the House of Jacob 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
3 — 20 The First Journey of Jacob's Brethren into E, 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
21 — 24 The Memory of Conscience 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses - . 
25 — 28 The Miseries of an Awakened Conscience 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
28 — 38 The Increasing Troubles of Jacob's Old Age 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



ypt 



662 
662 
663 
663 
664 
666 
667 
6G8 
669 
669 
671 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

VERSES PAGE 

Critical Notes 672 

1 — 14 Jacob under the Pressure of Want ... 672 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 673 

15 — 18 Joseph's Brethren Under the Influence of a Guilty Fear ... 675 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 675 

19—25 Joseph's Steward 676 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 677 

26 — 34 Joseph and his Brethren at the Banquet ... ... ••• 678 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 679 

CHAPTER XLIV. 

Critical Notes 680 

1—15 The Final Trial of Joseph's Brethren 681 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 682 

16 — 34 Judah's Intercession ... ... ... ... •.• ••• 684 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ••• ■•• ... 685 

CHAPTER XLV. 

Critical Notes 686 

1 — 15 Joseph made Known to his Brethren ... ... ... ... 688 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 688 

16 — 20 Pharaoh's Invitation to Jacob and his Sons ... ... ... 691 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 691 

21 — 24 Joseph Equips his Bretliren for their Journey... ... ... 692 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 693 

25—28 The Joyful News told to Jacob 694 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 695 

CHAPTER XLVI. 

Critical Notes 695 

1 — 7 The Migration of Jacob's House to Egypt 696 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 697 

8—27 The Catalogue of the Children of Israel 698 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 699 

28—34 The Settlement of the Children of Israel iu Goshen 699 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... 700 

CHAPTER XLVII. 

Critical Notes 701 

1 — 12 Joseph Introduces Jacob and his Family to Pharaoh... ... 701 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 702 

13 — 26 Joseph's Administration in Egypt ... ... ... ... 704 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... ... ... ... 705 

27,28 The Children of Israel in Goshen 706 

Suggestive Comments on the Verges ... ... ... ... 706 

29 — 31 Israel's Preparation for Death 707 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 707 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XLVIII. 

VERSES 

Ceitical Notes 

1 — 7 Jacob's Adoption of Israel's two Sons ... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
8 — 20 The Blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
21, 22 Jacob in the Prospect of Death 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

CHAPTER XLIX. 

Critical Notes 

1, 2 Jacob as a Prophet of the Lord... 
3, 4 The Blessing of Reuben... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
5 — 7 The Blessing of Simeon and Levi 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

8—12 The Blessing of Judah 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
13—21, 27 The Blessings of Zebulun, Issachar, 
Naphtali and Benjamin 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses 
22 — 26 The Blessing of Joseph ... 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

28—33 The Dying Jacob 

Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 

CHAPTER L. 



Df 



1, Gad, 



Asher, 



1—13 



14—21 



22— 2G 



Critical Notes 

The Honour Paid to the Departed Jacob 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
Joseph's Last Forgiveness of his Brethren 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 
Dying Joseph 
Suggestive Comments on the Verses ... 



PAGE 

708 
708 
709 
710 
710 
712 
713 



713 
714 
716 
716 
716 
717 
717 
719 

720 
721 
721 
723 
723 
724 



724 
725 
726 
726 

728 
728 
730 




IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY 



GENESIS. 



Jnlro^iirtimt, 



The Importance of the Book of Gexesis. 

The Book of Geuesiu is probably the most important contained in the Bible ; it forms 
the basis of all revt4ation ; is necessary to account for the moral condition of man, and 
his consequent need of redemption by Christ. The history, uactrine, and prophecy of 
all the inspired writings take their rise in its narrative, and without it would be unin- 
telligible to us. 

The Book has an historical importance. It informs us of the creation of the world — 
of the coming forth of man to inhabit it, and of his development into a family,' a tribe, 
a nation. It also contains the record of many great and influential lives, and presents 
them with the pictorial vividness, with the simplicity and prthos of primitive times. 
The great historical divisions of the Book are — 1. The introduction, from chap. i. 1 to 
chap. ii. 3. 2. " The generations of the heavens and the earth," beginning with chap, 
ii. 4, and extending on through the history of the fail to thj birth of Seth, chap. iv. 
3. " The book of the generations of Adam," from chap. v. to vi. 8. 4. " The genera- 
tions of Noah," giving the history of Noah's family tiU his death, from chap. vi. 9 to 
chap. ix. 6. " The generations of the sons of Noah," giving in account of the over- 
spreading of the earth, chap. x. 1 to chap. xi. 9. 6. "The generations of Shem." the 
line of the promised seed, do'wn to Abram, Nahor, and Haran, the sous of Terah, chap, 
xi. 10 to 26, 7. " The generations of Terah," the father of Abraham, from whom also 
in the female line the famUy was traced through Sarah and Rebekah, chap. xi. 27 to 
XXV. 11. 8. " The generations of Ishmael," from xxv. 12 to 18. '-The generations of 
Isaac," containing the history of him and his family from the death of his father to his 
own death, xxv. 19 to end of xxxv. 10. "The generations of Esau," xxxvi. 1-8. 11. 
"The generations of Esau in Mount Seir," xxxvi. 9 to xxxvii. 1. 12 "The generations 
of Jacob," xxxvii. 2 to end of chapter. 

Thus the Book of Genesis contains the history of the world's early progress, as pre- 
sented in the lives of the most influential men of the times. It is therefore fliost 
important, certainly most interesting, and supremely reliabl3, as the outcome of a 
Divine inspiration then for the first time given to man. The Book has a doctrinal 
importance. It narrates the creation of man, with his temporal and moral surroundings. 
It teaches the Divine origin of the soul ; that life is a probatioi ; that communion with 
God is a reality ; that man is gifted with moral freedom ; that he is subject to Satanic 
influence, and that a violation ©f the law of God is the source -A all human woe. Here 



INTRODUCTION 



we have the only reliable account of the introduction of sin into the world ; the true 
philosophy of temptation, the true meaning of the redemptive purpose of God, the uni- 
versal depravity of the early race; and we have exemplified the over-ruling 
providence of God in the history of the good. The Book has an ethical impor- 
tance. It teaches the holy observance of the Sabbath as a day of rest and 
prayer ; the intention and sanctity of marriage ; and in its varied characters the 
retribution of deceit and envy. The morals of the book are most elevating, and are 
especially emphatic in their appeal to the young. Nor are these principles con- 
tained merely in cold precept, but are invested with all the force and reality of actual 
life. Hence they are rendered pre-eminently human, attractive, and admonitory. The 
book has a political importance. It traces the growth of social and national life ; 
it indicates the method of commerce during the ancient times ; it also proves that the 
national life of men may be rendered subservient to Divine ideas, and be made the 
medium for the advent of spiritual good to humanity. 

The Authorship of the Book of Genesis. 

There can be little doubt but that the Book of Genesis was written by Moses, as 
were the other Books of the Pentateuch. The author of Exodus must have been 
the author of Genesis, as the former history is a continuation of the latter, and evidently 
manifests the same spirit and intention. The use of Egyptian words, and the minute 
acquaintance with Egyptian life and manners displayed in the history of Joseph, har- 
monize with the education and experience of Moses ; and, although the evidence in 
favoiu" of the Mosaic origin of Genesis h necessarily less full and direct than that for 
the subsequent books, yet, considering its possession of the linguistic peculiarities com- 
mon to the whole five, its bearing upon the progressive development of the Jewish his- 
tory, and the testimony bome to it in the New Testament, it comes to us as the authentic 
work of an author who wrote as he was inspired by the Holy Ghost. 

The Sources from which the Author of Genesis gathered his Information. 

We are aware that the Inspired Penmen used their best native efforts in the attain- 
ment of facts, and in the method of the'r narration. They did not indolently rely on 
the aid of the Holy Ghost to make knowi to them events which were within their own 
power to ascertain. Hence, in writing tl e Book of Genesis, Moses would avail him- 
self of all possible help that could be obtained from lumian sources. It is possible 
that the account of the Creation may have been -^ .rived by tradition from Adam, 
who, we may suppose, would be Divinely informed as to the method of his own 
existence, and of the world around him. This may have been the case ; but it is quite 
as probable that the process of Oeatiou was revealed to Moses, as doctrines in after 
times were made known to the inspired writers, and written by them under the direct 
instruction of God. On this supposition only can we account for the plain, minute, 
and yet majestic revelation of this important week of Divine work. That Moses was 
aided by authentic documents — by famiiy genealogies — by tradition, and very likely, 
by the narratives of eye-witnesses — 'is pi obable. This help would be most welcome to 
him. And certainly, in the use of these varied materials, he has sho'w'n a master- 
hand in weaving them all into such a be lUtiful and harmonious plan , and in bringing 
out from them things of secondary importance, so many hints of the great redemp- 
tive truths to be more fully disclosed it subsequent ages. /' 



HOMILETW COMMENTARY : GENESIS. chap. i. 



The Standpoint from which the Book of Genesis should be Read. 
The Book of Genesis should not be exclusively studied from a scientific point of view. 
The object of the writer was not to present the world with a geological, botanical, or 
astronomical account of its different strata, of its varied plants, and of the ever- 
changing heavens, — but to make known the fact of the Creation as appropriate at the 
commencement of a Divine revelation to man, and as supplying a need that other- 
wise could not be met. Thus he writes from the standpoint of an ordinary observer 
of things, and to men, irrespective of their education, and makes known to them 
the power, wisdom, and goodness of God in fitting up the home in which the 
human family was to reside. Thus the book of Genesis is a history, and not a 
treatise on any scientific question — or on the philosophy of human existence ; but it 
is emphatically a narrative, authentic and most instructive to mankind. And, 
although a few critics of the Materialistic school may venture to impugn its veracity, 
the unfoldiugs of thue, and the outworkiugs of science, are their constant refutation. 



CHAPTER I, 



Critical Notes. — 1. In the heginmng] Or, "at first," "originally," "to start with:" Sept. 
en arche {tv apxy) as in John i. 1. God] Heb. 'Elohim (D'^n7S) : w. ref. to this frequent and 
interesting Divine Name, note (l.)its radical conception — that of power ; (2.) its form — plural, 
either " of excellence " (Ges. and others), or " of abstraction," as in " lordship " for " lord " in 
English (B. Davies) ; (3.) its construction — gen. w. sing. verb, and pronoun, as here w. 
6d/a> (W~^D), he created, — serving as an ever recurring protest against the wild vulgarity 
wh. wd. here understand "angels," and as a plea for the unity of the Divine Nature. 
Elohim = ^' the Putter-forth of manifold powers, or the Living Personification of power in its 
most radical conception," occurs about 2,500 times in 0. T. 2. And the earth] Here "the e." 
is emp. by position (Ewald) ; and, as emphasis implies contrast, shd. bo introduced by " but : " 
" But THE EARTH ! " — a strangely overlooked hint for the expositor — " But the earth had be- 
come," &c., — whether by first creation or subseq. catastrophe, it does not say. Without form 
and void] Heb. tholiu and bliohu ; words inimitably expressive = " wasteness and emptiness." 
E occurs only thrice, each time with T. : here, and Is. xxxiv. 11 : Jer. iv. 23. Deep] Heb. 
</i«//d/M = " roaring deep:" Sept. and Vulg. abi/ss. Moved] Heb. participle expresses the con- 
tinued process of life-giving love. 3. And God said] Bettor (because of the strong ivaw, and 
position of verb) : " Then said God ":=" the state of things being as just described." From this 
point the drama is unfolded to the eye. Light] The orig. is indeed inimitable : Yehi'or, lud-y^hi 
'or. The nearest approach in Eng. is porh : "Exist, light! — then exists light." 4. Good] 
Also : "fair," "fine," " beautiful ;" Sept. Kalon. 5. And the e. and the in. were] A dull ren- 
dering. The Heb. marks sequence, with some latitude of application, " And so " — or — "And 
then it became e.. .. became m. one day." 6. xiijiiaiiient] Or: "expanse;" prop. " something 
beaten out," " expanded." li. Kind] Prop. " form " or '• shape," hence '' species," " kind." 
Comp. 1 Cor. xv. 38, where note the aorist tonse = •' as it (originally) pleased him : " — a hint on 
"the perpetuity of species." 14. Lights] ''Luminaries:" Heb. me'dro^y^, sing, ma or, ifot 'or 
as in ver. 3 : Sept. phoster here, phos there. There was "light" before the fourth day 
20. Creature] Here, and in vv. 21, 24, " creature " stands for Heb. nephesh (Se'p^. psyche), and in 
v, 30 "wherein is life" is, more exactly, "wherein is a -nephesh of life." If our Eng. "soul" 
cannot be expanded so as to cover the biblical usage of nephesh and psyche, the next best thing 
might be to adopt " psyche," "psychical," at least in private a^id expository discourse. Ac- 
cording to 1 Cor. XV., Adam wtj,s a "psychical" man, and this death-doomed body is a "psychi- 
cal " body. Cf. C. N. on ch. ii. 7. 21. Whales] Hob. tannin : prop, a long creature (Ges. Da v.) 
wh. winds or twists itself, or st vetches itself along (Fiirst). Tiia use of this word in O.T. is 

3 



CHAP. 1. HOMILETW COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



remarkable : only in Job. vii. 12 is it elsewhere in 0. V. rendered " whale : " in Ex. vii. 9, 10, 
12, it is "serpent;" in Dout. xxxii. 33, Neh. ii. 13, Ps. Ixxiv. 13, xci. 13, cxlviii. 7, fs. xxvii. 1, 
li. 9, Jer. li. 34, " drasfon ; " and in Lam. iv. 3, "sea-monster." These are all its occurrences. 
26. Man] Heb. 'ddhdm (Adam). The reader of the Heb. can scarcely resist the impression 
that a close connection was meant to be seen between ^ddhdm "man," and ,adhdindh "earth," 
"ground." Guided by this, and by 1 Cor. xv. 47, we cannot doubt that "earth-born" 
(Kalisch) rather than "red," "ruddy"' (Ges. "perh") gives the rad. conception of tho word. 
Dominion] The orig., radhah, signifies to lay low, overthrow, tread down; hence subdue, rule. 
28. Replenish] Simply ** fill," therefore, supporting no inference that the earth had previously 
been filled, and was afterwards emptied, wji. may or may not have been the case. 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH —Verses 1—2. 

The Creator and His Work. 

I. Then Atheism is a folly. " In the beginning God." There have always 
been men who have denied the existence ot God. All down through the ages 
their voices have been heard — their books have been read, and their arguments 
have been promulgated. Atheism is the supreme folly of which man is capable. 
It divests life of all spiritual enjoyment — of real nobility of character, and degrades 
almost to the level of the brute. The atheist must be blind to all the appearances 
of Ci'eation, for one sincere outlook upon them would demonstrate the mockery 
of his creed. The fool hath said in his heart that there is no God. He dare 
not loudly articulate a conclusion, which his inner consciousness tells him to 
be so utterly devoid of truth, so criminal, and so likely to attract the retribution 
of heaven. Atheism is proved absurd: — 1. By the histori/ of the creation of the 
tooi'ld. It would be impossible for a narrative to be clearer, mox-e simple, or more 
divinely authenticated than this of the creation. The very existence of things 
around us is indisputable evidence of its reality. If this history be a 
myth, then the woi'ld and man must be myths also. But if the universe is a 
fact, then it follows that this ancient narrative must be so. Then this chapter 
is perfectly natural in its subject matter. We should have antecedently expected 
that the first word of a Divine revelation would be of the Being of God, and 
that it would also acquaint us with the history of creation. Here, then, we have a 
cause adequate to the effect,for admitting an Omnipotent Being, there is no difficulty 
in the creation of the vmiverse. A man who would reject the plain statement 
of this Book, to be consistent, would have to reject all history. True, we may 
imagine the pen of man as incompetent and unequal to record the creative 
fiat and energy of God. It would be difficult for him to spell the words, to 
mark the punctuation, to catch the accents of the Divine language. And 
who has not felt that the first verse of this chapter, trembles and is almost broken 
by the majesty and weight of the thought and revelation that resides within it. 
But this is no argument against the historical veracity of the writer, but rather 
the contrary, in that thoughts so sublime were ever conceived by the human 
mind, and crowded into the broken syllables of men. 2. By the existence of the 
beautiful world around us. The world standing up around us in all its grandeur — 
adaptation — evidence of design — harmony — is a most emphatic assertion of the 
Being of God. Every flower is a denial of Atheism. Every star is vocal with 
Deitj». And when we get away from the merely visible creation into the inner 
recess and quietude of Nature, where are seen the great sights, and are heard 
the mysterious voices, when permitted entrance to the spiritual meaning of the 
things we see, we acknowledge ourselves to be brought into undeniable 
communion with the supernatural, and are ready there and then to worship at 
its altar. 3. By the moral convictions of humanity. There is probably not an 
intelligent man in the wide universe, who does not believe in, and pay homage 
to, some deity or other. The temples of tho htuiUeu tilled with idols, are 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. chap. i. 



a permanent demonstration of this. Man's conscience wili have a god of some 
kind. That there is a deity is the solemn conviction of the world. Hence 
the folly of Atheism. II. Then Pantheism is an absurdity. We are in- 
formed by these verses that the world was a creation, and not a sponta- 
neous, or natural emanation from a mysterious something only known in the 
vocabulary of a sceptical philosophy. Thus the world must have had a per- 
sonal Creator, distinct and separate from itself. True, the Divine Being is 
present throughout the universe, but He is nevertheless imlependent of, and 
distinct from, it. He is the Deity of the Temple. He is the King of the realm. 
He is the Occupant of the house. III. Then matter is not eternal. " In the 
beginning." Thus it is evident that matter had a commencement. It was created 
by Divine power. It had a birtliday. We wonder that any number of 
intelligent men should have credited the eternity of matter. The state- 
ment involves a contradiction in terms. How could matter be eternal ? It 
could not have produced or developed itself from some generic form, for Avho 
created the generic form ? The world must have had a commencement. The 
Mosaic record says it had. This is the only reasonable supposition. IV. Then 
the world was not the result of a f ortmtous combination of atoms. " In the 
beginning God created." Thus the world was a creation. There was the 
exercise of supreme intelligence. Theie was the exercise of an independent will. 
There was the expression in symbol of great thoughts, and also of Divine 
sympathies. There is nothing like chance throughout the whole work recorded 
in this chapter. If atoms were originally gifted with such intelligence and fore- 
sight as to combine themselves instinctively into such beautiful forms, and wonderful 
uses, as seen in the world, how are we to account for their degeneracy, as at present 
they appear utterly devoid of any such power. How is it that we are not the 
spectators of a little spontaneous creation now, similar to that of the olden days ? 
V. Then creation is the outcome of supernatural power. " In the beginning God 
created." There must of necessity ever be much of mystery connected with this 
subject. Man was not present to witness the creation, and God has only given 
us a brief and dogmatic account of it. God is mj^stery. The world is a mystery. 
How very limited then must be the knowledge of man in reference thereto? Science 
may vaunt its discoveries, but the mystery of creation is open more to the 
prayerful reader of this record, than to the philosopher who only studies it for the 
purpose of curious inquiry. But there is far less mystery in the Mosaic account of 
the creation than in any other, as it is the most natural, the most likely, and 
truly the most scientific, as it gives us an adequate cause for the effect. The 
re-creation of the soul is the best explanation of the creation of the universe, and 
in fact of all the other mysteries of God. 

The Theology of Creation. 

Man naturally asks for some account of the world in which he lives. Was the world always 
in existence? If not, how did it begin to be ? Did the sun make itself? These are not pre- 
sumptuous questions. We have a right to ask them — the right which arises from our intelli- 
gence. The steam engine did not make itself, did the sun ? In the text we find an answer to 
all our questions. I. The answer is simple. There is no attempt at learned analysis or elaborate 
exposition. A child may understand the answer. It is direct, positive, complete. Could it 
have been more siinplti ? Try any other form of WiU-ds, and see if a purer simplicity be possi- 
ble. Observe the va.ue of simplicity whan regarded a,' bearing upon the grande-t events.- The 
question is not who made a house, but who made a world, and not who made one world, but who 
made all worlds ; and to this question the answer is, God made them. There is great risk in 
returning a simple answer to a profound inquiry, because when simplicity is not the last result 
of knowledge, it is mere imbecility. II The answer is sublime. God! God created! 
1. Sublime because far-reaching in point of time: in the beginning. Science would Lave 
attempted a fact, religion has given a truth. If any inquirer can lix a date, he is not forbidden 
to do so. Dates are for children 2. Sublime because connecting the material with the spiritual. 
There is, then, something more than dust in tbe universe. Every atom bears a superscription. 
It is something, surely, to have the name of God associated with all things great and small 



CHAP. I 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY. GENESIS. 



that are around us, Natixre thus hecomes a materialized thought. The wind is the breath of 
God. The thunder is a note from the music of his speech. 3. Sublime, because revealing, as 
nothing else could have done, the power and wisdom of the Most High. III. The answer is 
sufficient. It might have been both simple and sublime, and yet not have reached the point of 
adequacy. Draw a straight line, and you may describe it as simple, yet who would think of 
calling it sublime ? We must have simplicity which reaches the point of sublimity, and sub- 
limity which sufficiently covers every demand of the case. The sufficiency of the answer is 
manifest: Time is a drop of eternity ; nature is the handiwork of God ; matter is the creation of 
mind ; God is over all, blessed for evermore. This is enough. In proportion as we exclude 
God from the operation, we increase difficulty. Atheism never simplifies. Negation works in 
darkness. The answer of the text to the problem of creation is simple, sublime, and sufficient, 
in relation. (1) To the inductions of Geology. (2) To the theory of evolution. Practical 
inferences: — 1, If God created all things, then all things are under His goverment. 2. Thea 
the earth may be studied religiously, 3. Then it is reasonable that He should take an interest 
in creation \_City Temple']. • 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verse 1. I. A revelation oi God. 1. His 
iVflwe ; names have meaning. 2. His nature: 
spirituality, personality. 3. His mode of 
existence: manifold unity. 

II. A revelation of nature. 1. Matter not 
eternal. 2. The antiquity of the earth. 3. The 
order of creation \_Pulpi.t Analyst]. 

Creation: — 1. In what it consisted. 
2, When undertaken, 3. By whom 
accomplished. 

Creation : — 1. Its commencement. 
2. Its progress. 3. Its completion. 

Creation: — 1, As a history. 2. As 
a doctrine. 3. As a prophecy. 

This history of creation: — 1, Con- 
tains a rich treasury of speculative 
thought, 2. Capable of poetical glory. 
8, Free from the influence of human 
invention and philosophy. 

Our history of creation differs from 
all other cosmogonies as truth from 
fiction. Those of heathen nations are 
either hylozoistical, deducing the origin 
of life and living beings from some 
primeval matter; or pantheistical, 
regarding the whole world as emanat- 
ing from a common divine substance; 
or mythological, tracing both gods 
and men to a chaos or world-egg. 
They do not even rise to the notion of 
a creation, much less to the knowledge 
of an Almighty God. as the Creator of 
all things \_Keil ^ DelitzscK]. 

God:— 1. Before all things, 2. The 
cause of all things. 3. The explana- 
tion of all things, i 4. The destiny of 
all things. 

In the beginning: — 1. The birth of 
time. 2. The birth of matter. 3. The 
birth of revelation. 

This verse assumes : — 1. The Being- 
G 



of God. 2. His eternity. 3. His om 
nipotence, 4. His absolute freedom 
5. His infinite wisdom. 6. His essen- 
tial goodness. 

Admonitory lessons to be learned 
from the Divine creation of the 
world: — 1. To admire it carefully. 

2. To trust it cautiously. 3. To rely 
on God entirely. 

The first circumstance which here 
offers itself to our consideration and 
observation, is the phrase and manner 
of speech which the Holy Ghost makes 
choice of, in this narrative, which we 
see, is as plain as it is brief, without 
any manner of insinuation, by way of 
preface, and without any garnishing 
by art, or eloquence, which men usually 
make use of, for the setting out, and 
gracing of their writings : the Spirit of 
God suddenly, as it were, darting out 
the truth which he delivers, like the 
sunbeams breaking in an instant as 
out of a cloud, as being a light visible, 
and beautiful in itself, and therefore 
needing no other ornament, or varnish- 
ing, to commend it to the world \J. 
White] 

" The heavens and the earth " : — 
Heaven is named first, as being first, 
if not in time, yet at least in dignity. 
I. Let us make heaven our chief 
desire. 2. Learn from the heavens to 
stoop to these below us. 

Heaven: — 1. The sign of man's 
origin. 2. The direction of his prayer. 

3. Inasmuch as the earth is contained 
in this narration, we must regard it as 
the work of God, and associate it with 
our thought of heaven. 



HOMILETTC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. I, 



We are all of us familiar with this 
idea, that in contemplating the works 
of creation, we should ascend from 
Nature to Nature's God. Everywhere 
■we discern undoubted proofs of the 
unbounded wisdom, power, and good- 
ness of the great Author of all things. 
Everywhere we meet with traces of 
just and benevolent design which 
should suggest to us the thought of the 
Almighty Creator. It is most pleasing 
and useful to cultivate such a habit as 
this ; much of natural religion depends 
upon it, and Holy Scripture fully re- 
cognises its propriety : " The heavens 
declare the glory of God," &c. ; " All 
Thy works praise Thee," &c. It is 
apparent, however, that even in these 
and similar passages, that created things 
are mentioned, not as arguments, but 
rather as illustrations ; not as suggest- 
ing the idea of God the Creator, but as 
unfolding and expanding that idea, 
otherwise obtained. (Romans i. 20) 
[Dr Candlish~\. 

Thus, in a spiritual view, and for 
spiritual purposes, the truth concerning 
God, as the Creator, must be received, 
not as a discovery of our own reason, 
following a train of thought, but as a 
direct communication from a real per- 
son — even from the living and present 
God. This is not a merely theoretical 
and artificial distinction ; it is practi- 
cally most important. Consider the 
subject of creation simply in the light 
of an argument of Natural Philosophy, 
and all is vague and dim abstraction. 
It may be close and cogent as a de- 
monstration in Mathematics, but it is 
cold and unreal ; or, if there be emo- 
tion at all, it is but the emotion of a 
fine taste and a sensibility for the grand 
and lovely in nature and thought. But 
consider the momentous fact in the light 
of a direct message from the Creator 
Himself to you — regard Him as stand- 
ing near to you, and Himself telling 
you, personally and face to face, all 
that He did on that wondrous week — 
are you not differently impressed and 
affected ? — 1. More particularly, — see 
first of all, what weight this single idea, 
once truly and vividly realized, must 
add to all the other communications 
which He makes on other subjects to us. 



2. Again, obsei've what weight this 
idea must have if we regard God Him- 
self as personally present, and saying to 
us, in special reference to each of the 
things which He has made — " I pleated 
it, and I am now reminding you that it 
was I who made it." What sacredness 
will this thought stamp on every ob- 
ject in nature [Z)?-. Candlis1i\. 

In the first two chapters of Genesis 
we meet with four different verbs to ex- 
press the creative work of God, viz. : — 
I. To create'. 2. To make. 3. To 
form. 4. To build. 

This narrative bears on the very face 
of it the indication that it was written 
by man and for man, for it divides all 
things into the heavens and the earth. 
Such a division evidently suits those 
only who are inhabitants of the 
earth. Accordingly, this sentence is 
the foundation-stone of the history, not 
of the universe at large, of the sun, of 
any other planet — but of the earth, and 
of man, its rational inhabitant. The 
primeval event which it records, in 
point of time, from the next event in 
such a history ; as the earth may have 
existed myriads of ages, and undergone 
many vicissitudes in its condition, be- 
fore it became the home of the human 
race. And, for aught we know, the 
history of other planets — even of the 
solar system — may yet be unwritten, 
because there has been as yet no ra- 
tional inhabitant to compose or peruse 
the record. We have no intimation of 
the interval of time that elapsed be- 
tween the beginning of things narrated 
in this prefatory sentence, and that state 
of things which is announced in the 
following verse [Dr. Min'pki/^. 

Taken along with the context, the 
drift of the whole verse seems to be to 
give, in a brief and compendious form, 
a summary of the work of creation, 
which is more fully detailed in its 
various particulars in the account of 
the six days following. Such general 
statements but unfrequently occur in 
the sacred writers as a preface to more 
expanded details that follow. Thus it 
is said, in general terms (Verse 27) that, 
"God created man in His own image, 
male and female created He them ; " 
whereas the particulars of their crea- 

7 



CHAP. I. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



tion are given at full length — Chap. ii. 
7, 18, 25 IBnsh']. 

The Eternal God hath given being 
to time. 



The Almighty Creator hath made all 
things to be out of nothing. 

The vast heavens and all therein are 
God's creatures. 



The Teaching of Chaos. 



Verse 2. I. That the most elemen- 
tary and rude conditio as of things are 
not to be rejected or overlooked. "And 
the eai'th was without form and void." 
1. This may he true of the ivorld of 
matter. Tlie earth was af the time of 
this verse in a state of utter desolation. 
It was without order — it was with- 
out fui'niture. Thei-e was not a hu- 
man being to gaze upon its chaos — 
there was not a voice to break its 
silence. There were no animals to 
roam amidst its disorder. There were 
no trees, or flowers to reUeve its barren- 
ness. The earth was desolate. 2. This 
may he true of the world of mind. There 
are many minds in the universe whose 
intellectual condition would be well 
and fitly described by the language of 
this verse. They are desolate. They 
are not peopled with great thoughts. 
They are not animate! by great and 
noble convictions. They are destitute 
of knowledge. The intended furniture 
of the mind is absent. The cry " Let 
there be light" has not been heard 
within their souls. Darkness is upon 
the face of the deep. 3. This may he 
true of the ivorld of the soul. How many 
souls are there in the universe — in tlie 
town — in the village - whose moral 
condition is well described by the 
language of this verse ? Their soul-life 
lacks architecture. God designed that 
it should be based on elevated principles, 
animated by lofty motives, and inspired 
by great hopes ; but instead of this it 
is based on expediency, and is but too 
frequently animated by the delusion 
of the world. Their souls ought to be 
occupied with divine pursuits, whereas 
they are busy with the transient affairs 
of time; they ought to be filled with 
God, whereas they are satisfied with 
little rounds of pleasure; they ought to 
be enraptured with the visions of 
eternity, whereas they are spell bound 
by the little sights of time. Such a 
soul is in a state of chaos far more 



lamentable than that of the world at 
the Creation, inasmuch as the one is 
matter, and the other an immortality. 
But chaos is not iri-etrievable. It must 
not be despised. 

II. That the most rude and elemen- 
tary conditions of tilings, under the 
culture of the Divine Spirit, are capa- 
ble of the highest utiUty and beauty. 
1. This is true of the material world. 
The earth was without form and void ; 
but now it is everywhere resplendent 
with all that is esteemed useful and 
beautiful. It opens up realms of know- 
ledge to the scientific investigator. It 
discloses beauties that kindle the genius 
of the artist. It manifests a fertility 
most welcome to the husbandman. 
Whence this transition ? Is it to be 
accounted for on the principle of de- 
velo^Dment? Is it the result of at- 
mospherical influences? Is it to be 
accounted for by the law of affinity or 
attraction ? Is it attributable to the 
achievements of human effort ? True, 
man placed the seed into the soil ; 
he cultured it, but where did the 
life come from ? That must have 
been a creation, and not an edu- 
cation. It was the gift of God. It 
was the result of the Spirit's hovering 
over the darkness of Nature. So it is the 
Divine agency, however many human 
instrumentalities may be employed, 
that makes the desolation and solitude 
of nature wave with fields of plenty, 
and echo to the joyful cry of the 
reaper. The world is under a Divine 
ministry. 2. This is true of the 
ivorld of mind. The chaos of the human 
mind is turned into order, light, and 
intellectual completion, by the agency 
of the Divine Spirit. True, the man 
is naturally a student ; he is diligent 
in the pursuit of information, and he 
has a fine opportunity for mental cul- 
ture. But who has given him the 
power of intelligent inquiry, the dispo- 
sition of diligent study, and the means 



HOMILETIC COJ\IMENTARY: GENESIS. ciur. i. 



of education ? They are the g-ift of God. shine out with their intended splendour. 

The avenues of the human mind are He will make the soiil a fit world for 

under the guardianship of the Spirit the habitation of all that is heavenly." 

much more than we imagine, and This ministry of the Spirit should be 

all the noble visitants that enrich our more recognised by us. Despise not 

intellectual life are largely sent by Him. the chaos— the darkness. It may yet 

The brooding of the Divine Spirit over be turned into a world of glory — a 

the darkest human mind, and the voice realm of light, by the kindly hovering 

of God sounding in its empty abyss of the Divine Spirit. 
will produce light, and, ultimately, the The earth : — 1. Without form. 

highest manifestation of thought. A 2. Without light. 3. Without life, 

noble education is the gift of God, and 4. Not without God. 
so are great ideas. A man may have The Spirit of God: — 1. Removes 

much knowledge aud yet great chaos : darkness. 2. Impai'ts beauty. 3. Gives 

hence, God not only gives the life-prin- life. 

ciple to the mind, but also its har- The Spirit of God : — 1. Separating, 

monious development and growth to a 2. Quickening. 3. Preparing, 
complete and orderly mental world. Without form and void : — 1. A type 

3. This is true of the ivorld of soul. The of many souls. 2. A type of many 

chaos of the soul of man can only be lives. 3. A type of many books. 4. A 

restored by the creative ministry of type of many sermons. 5. A type of 

the Holy Spirit. He will create light. many societies. 

He will restore order. He will cause All things are empty until God fur- 
all the nobler faculties of the soul to nisheth them. 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 3—5. 

The Creation of Light. 

I. Divinely produced. "And God said, Let there be light." 1. Foi- the 
protection of life. The Divine Being is gradually preparing the infant world 
for the habitation of living things. Hence, prior to their creation. He beneficently 
makes everything ready for their advent. Plants could not live without light; 
without it, the Howers would soon wither. Even in a brief night they close 
their petals, and will only open them again at the gentle approach of the morning 
light. Nor could man survive in continued darkness. A sad depression would 
rest upon his soul. A weird monotony would come upon his life. He would 
long for the grave, and soon would his longings be at rest, as life under such 
conditions would be impossible, and certainly unbearable. 2. For the enjoyment 
of life. Even if man was permitted to live for a short space of time in a dark 
world, what practical use could he make of life, and what enjoyment could he 
have in it ? He would not be able to pursue any commercial enterprise. He could 
not spend his time in study. He would not be able to read. He would not be able 
to write. For if darkness had remained upon the earth from its creation, an inven- 
tion for the giving of light would have been impossible, nor would men have been 
favoured with the artificial advantages now possessed by the blind. It is light 
that makes the world so beautiful, and that enables the artist to perceive its gran- 
deur, and reproduce it on his canvas. Light is one of God's best gifts to the world. 
(1.) It is inexpensive. The world has to pay for the light produced by man; that 
created by God, we get for nothing. Man has limitations; God has none. Man is 
selfish; God is beneficent. (2.) It is extensive. It fioods the universe. It is the 
heritage of the poor equally with the rich; it enters the hut as well as the palace. 
(3.) It is ivelcome. The light of morning is welcome to the mariner, who has been 
tossed on the great deep through the dark and stormy night; to the weary suf- 
ferer, whose pain has rendered sleep impossible ; and how often has the morning 
dawn over the distant hills awakened the rapture of poetic souls as they have 

9 



CHAP. I. HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



been watching from an eminence the outgoings of the morning. 3. For the 
instruction of life. Light is not merely a protection. It is not only an enjoyment. 
It is also an instructor. It is an emblem. It is an emblem of God, it's Author, 
who is the Eternal Light. It is an emblem of truth. It is an emblem of good- 
ness. It is an emblem of heaven. It is an emblem of beneficence. It is 
calculated to teach the world the most important lessons it can possibly 
learn. All the gifts of God are teachers as well as benefactors. He leads 
men through enjoyment into instruction. II. Divinely approved. "And God 
saw the light, that it was good." 1. It ivas good in itself. The light was pure. 
It was clear. It was not so fierce as to injure. It was not so weak as to be 
ineffectual. It was not so loud in its advent as to disturb. It was noiseless. 
It was abundant. There is a great force in light, and yet nothing is more 
gentle ; hence it was as the offspring of Divine power. 2. It tvas good because 
adapted to the pitrpose contemplated hj it. Nothing else could more efficiently 
have accomplished its purpose toward the life of man. Nothing else could have 
supplied its place in the universe. It is allied to religious ideas. It is allied to 
scientific investigation. It is allied to every practical subject of life. Hence it is 
prood because adapted to its purpose, deep in its meaning, wide in its realm, happy 
in its influence, and educational in its tendency. 3. We see hete that the Divine 
Being carefully scrutinises the tvork of his hands. When He had created light, He 
saw that it was good. May we not learn a lesson here, to pause after our daily 
toil, to inspect and review its worth. Every act of life should be followed by con- 
templation. It is criminal folly to allow years to pass without inquiry into the moral 
quality of our work. He who makes a daily survey of his toil will be able to 
make a daily improvement, and secure the daily approval of his conscience. III. 
Divinely proportioned. " And God called the light day, and the darknesc he 
called night." 1. The light ivas indicative of day. In this light man was to work. 
The light ever active would rebuke indolence. By this light man was to read. 
In this light man was to order his moral conduct. Through this light man was 
to walk to the eternal light. 2. The removal of light tvas indicative of night. In 
this night man was to rest from the excitement of pleasure, and the anxiety of 
toil. Its darkness was to make him feel the need of a Divine protection. Let 
no man seek to reverse the order of God's universe, by turning day into night, or 
night into day, if he does, a sure retribution will follow him. Some preachers 
say that they can study better at night. If they can, it is the result of habit, and 
not the natural outcome of their physical constitution. God evidently thinks 
that men can rest batter at night, and work better in the day-time. Hence 
He puts out the great light, and bids the world repose under the care of Him who 
neither slumbereth or sleepeth. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verse. 3. Light is the first of all The study of God's work is : — 1, 

creatui'es that God makes, as being it- Pleasant. 2. Profitable. 3. Neces- 

self most generally useful, especially to sary. Light is an emblem of God: — 

the end which God principally aimed 1. Glorious. 2. Pure. 3. Diffused 

at, which was to make all the rest of in an instant. 4. Searching all places, 

his works visible. 5. Useful for direction and comfort. 

God loves to do all His Avorks in the How much more is God the author of 
light. 1. He dwells in the light (1. wisdom, and understanding, the iu- 
Tim. vi. 16). 2. Because His works ward light of the soul, 
are perfect, and therefore, able to en- There was nothing but deformity till 
dure the light (John iii. 21). 3. In God brought beauty into the world, 
order that He may be seen in His God often brings light out of dark- 
works, ness; — 1. The light of day from the 
10 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



CHAP. r. 



darkness of night. 2. The light of 
prosperity from the darkness of afflic- 
tion. 3. The light of knowledge from 
the darkness of ignorance. 4. The light 
of peace from the darkness of sti'ife. 

Was light created before the crea- 
tion of the sun, and other luminous 
bodies ? That this is possible has been 
shown by Di\ McCaul, " Aids to 
Faith," p. 210 ; but very probably the 
creation of the sun is related in verse 1 , 
where under the word heaven (or 
heavens), may be comprehended the 
whole visible universe of sun, moon, 
and stars. Now, the history is going 
on to the adaptation of the earth for 
man's abode. In verse 2, a thick 
darkness had enveloped it. In this 3rd 
verse the darkness is dispelled by the 
word of God, the light is separated from 
the darkness, and the regular succes- 
sion of day and night is established. 
Still, probably, there I'emains a clouded 
atmosphere, or other obstacle to the 
full vision of sun and sky. It is not 
till the fourth day that their impedi- 
ments are removed, and the sun appears 
to the earth as the great luminary of 
the day, the moon and the stai's as 
ruling the night. Light may, per- 
haps, have been created before the sun. 
Yet the statement, that on the first day, 
not only was there light, but the suc- 
cession of day and night, seems to prove 
that the creation of the sun was '' in 
the beginning," though its visible 
manifestation in the firmament was not 
till the fourth day [Speaker's Com- 
mentary']. 

One or two facts may be mentioned, 
as confirming the more recent elucida- 
tion of this Scripture statement. Hum- 
boldt, in describing the beauty of the 
Zodiacal light, has said — "The Zodiacal 
light, which rises in a pyramidal form, 
and constantly contributes by its mild 
radiance to the external beauty of the 
tropical nights, is either a vast nebu- 
lous ring, rotating between the Earth 
and Mars, or. less probably, the ex- 
terior stratum of the solar atmosphere." 
" For tlie last three or four nights, 
between lO'* and 14'^ of north latitude, 
the Zodiacal light has appeared with a 
magnificence which I have never before 
seen. Long narrow clouds, scattered 



over the lovely azure of the sky, ap- 
peared low down in the horizon, as if 
in front of a golden curtain, while 
bright varied tints played from time to 
time on the higher clouds ; it seemed a 
second sunset. Towards that side of 
the heavens, the diffused light appeared 
almost equal to that of the moon in her 
first quarter." Not less striking is his 
description, in another passage, of a 
cloud well known to astronomers, pass- 
ing over the heavens luminously and 
with great rapidity : " The light of the 
stars being tiuis utterly shut out, one 
might suppose that surrounding objects 
would become, if possible, more indis- 
tinct. But no : what was formerly in- 
visible can now be clearly seen ; not 
because of lights from the earth being 
reflected back by a cloud - — for very 
often there are none, — but in virtue of 
the light of the cloud itself which, how- 
ever faint, is yet a similitude of the 
dazzling light of the sun. The exist- 
ence of this illuminating power, though 
apparently in its debilitude, we discover 
also — by appearance, at least — among 
other orbs." While these facts prove 
the existence of light without the sun 
being visible, it may be urged that the 
light spoken of in Genesis not only 
made day and night, but it must have 
been sufficient to sustain life. To sup- 
pose that it was adequate to this end 
involves no violent hypothesis, for nei- 
ther plant nor animal life is spoken of 
until there has been a separation of 
land and water. In the earlier and 
more recent geological ages the heat was 
doubtless greater than it is now ; and 
this, taken in connection with a sur- 
rounding vapourous atmosphere, and 
with such light as existed, may have 
conduced to the development of v.'hat- 
ever plant-forms then prevailed. Diffi- 
culty in entertaining this view has been 
greatly lessened by the fact, that not 
only plant, but animal life may be 
sustained under conditions of feeble 
light, great pressure, and intense heat, 
which were not long ago deemed in- 
credible [^Dr. W. Eraser']. 

In the beginning, God created the 
heaven and the earth. But verse 16 
reads, " God made two great lights." 
In the one, we have " bara" create ; 

11 



CHAP. I. 



nOMILEriC COMME^rrARY: GEXESTS. 



in the other, asah, He made or fash- 
ioned, or appointed, of materials or 
objects already created, or existent, 
the sun to be a light-bearer; and so 
also the raoon, which is known not to 
have light either in itself or immedi- 
ately surrounding it. The Creator 
adopted and employed for this purpose 
the sun and moon, and may have intro- 
duced, for the first time, such relations 
as now exist between them and our 
atmosphere. Adopting the latitude of 
interjiretation, which is Avarranted by 
the use of the distinct terms, bara and 
asdk, we suggest another view. When, 
after the deluge, God " Set His bow 
in the cloud to be a token that the 
waters shall no more become a flood to 
destroy the earth, " it is not necessarily 
an infei'ence that the rainbow had 
never before appeared. As all the 
physical conditions, on which it depends 
had existed during man's history, it 
7na?/ have been visible ; and, assuming 
that it was so, it only received a new 
historical connection when it was made 
a token of the covenant. In the same 
manner the sun and moon and stars 
may have been visible long before they 
were appointed to be "for signs and for 
seasons," and to fulfil a new historical 
relation to man. as they ever afterward 
rule his day and night [Dr. W. Fraser\ 

Verse 4. God's view of His works : — 
1. To rejoice in them. 2. To support 
them. 3. To direct them. 

Let US review the works of God : — 

1. As a good employment for our 
minds. 2. As a co^nfort to our souls. 

3. As increasing our love for Him. 

4. As inspiring us with praise. 

The work of God is good : — 1. Be- 
cause it must answer to the workman. 

2. Because no one else can augment its 
perfection. 3. Because it is the vehicle 
of truth. 4. If it proves not so to us 
it is because we are out of J'armoiiy 
with it. 5. Let us try t^ imitate God 
in his method of Avorks as fsr as possible. 

Light is good : — 1 . Therefore thank 
God for it. 2. Therefore v&& it well. 

3. Therefore strive to reflect it. 
Light and dai'kness succeed each : — 

i. Efich useful in its turn. 2. We 
should prepare for darkness. 3. We 
12 



may anticipate heaven where there is no 
night. 

Verse 5. All light is not day, nor 
all darkness night ; but light and dark- 
ness alternating in a regular order con- 
stitute day and night \_Ait(jiistine\, 

None but superficial thinkers can 
take offence at the idea of created things 
receiving names from God. The name 
of a thing is the expression of its 
nature. If the name be given by man, 
it fixes, in a word, the impression Avhich 
it makes upon the human mind ; but 
when given by God, it expresses the 
reality, what the thing is in God's 
creation, and the place assigned it there 
by the side of other things [Keil ^ 
DeUtzsch~\. 

In what sense is the word " day " to 
be understood in this narrative ? To 
simplify the subject I make the single 
issue — is it a period of twenty-four 
hours, or a period of special character, 
indefinitely long ? The latter theory 
supposes the word to refer here not so 
much to duration as to special character 
— the sort of work done and the changes 
produced during the period contem- 
plated. Turning our attention to this 
latter theory, we raise these inquiries : 
1. Do the laws of language and especially 
does the usage of the word " day " ])e7-7nit 
it ? Bej'ond all question the word 
" day " is used abundantly (and there- 
fore admits of being used) to denote a 
period of special character, with no 
particular refei-ence to its duration. 
We have a case in this immediate 
connection (Gen. ii. 4) where it is 
used of the whole creative period; 
"In the day that the Lord God njade 
the earth and the heavens." (See 
1 Thcss. V. 2 ; 2 Peter iii. 12 ; 2 Cor. 
vi. 2 ; Eph. iv. 30 , Joel ii. 2 ; Eccl. 
vii. 14.) To set aside this testimony 
from usage as being inapplicable to the 
present case, it has been said — i. That 
here is a succession of days, "first day,' 
" second day," and that this requires 
the usual sense of days of the week. 
To which the answer is that here are 
six special periods succeeding each 
other — a suflicient reason for using the 
word in the peculiar sense of a period 
of special character. Each of these 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GEiSESlS. 



CHAP. 1. 



periods is distinct from any and all the 
rest in the characterof the work wrought 
in it. The reason for dividing the 
creative work into six periods — "days," 
rather than into more or fewer, lies in 
the Divine wisdom as to the best pro- 
portion of days of man's labour to the 
one day of his rest, the Sabbath, ii. It 
will also be urged that each of these 
days is said to be made up of evening 
and of morning — " The evening and the 
morning were the first day." But the 
strength of this objection comes mainly 
from mis-translation. The precise 
thought is not that evening and morn- 
ing composed or made up one full day ; 
but rather this : There was evening 
and there was morning — day one, i.e., 
day number one. There was darkness, 
and there was light, indicating one of 
the great creative periods. It is one 
thing to say. There were alternations of 
evening and morning — i.e., dark scenes 
and bright scenes — marking the suc- 
cessive periods of creation, first, second, 
third ; and another to affirm that each 
of these evenings and mornings made up 
a day. Let it be considered, moreover, 
that while in Hebrew, as in English, 
night and daij are often used for tlje aver- 
age twelve hours duration of darkness 
and of light respectively in each twenty- 
four hours, yet in neither language are 
the words evening and morning used in 
this sense, as synonymous both night 
and day. Indeed, " evening " and 
"• morning " are rather points than 
periods of time; certainly do not 
indicate any definite amount of time — 
any precise number of hours ; but are 
used to denote the two great changes — 
I.e., from light to darkness, and from 
darkness to light; in other words, from 
day to night, and from night to day. 
Therefoi'e, to make evening and morn- 
ing, added together, constitute one day 
is entirely without warrant in either 
Hebrew or English usage, and cannot 
be the meaning of these passa,i^es iu 
Genesis. 2. Ajiart from the bearing of 
geological facts^ are there points in the 
narrative itself lohich demand or even 
favour this sense of the word ? i. 
Throughout at least, the first 
three of these creative epochs, 
thc:c was uo suu-rising and setting 



to mark off the ordinary day. These, 
therefore, were not tiie common human 
day ; but, as Augustine long ago said, 
these are the days of God — Divine 
days — measuring off His great crea- 
tive periods, ii. In some, at least, of 
these creative epochs, the work done 
demands more than twenty-four hours. 
For example, the gathering of the 
waters from under the heavens into one 
place, to constitute the seas or oceans, 
and leave portions of the earth's sur- 
face dry land. Nothing short of abso- 
lute miracle could effect this in one 
human day. But miracle should not 
be assumed here, the rule of reason and 
the normal law of God's operations be- 
ing never to work a miracle in a case 
where the ordinary course of nature 
will accomplish the same results equally 
well. We must the more surely ex- 
clude miracle, and assume the action of 
natural law only throughout these pro- 
cesses of the creative work, because 
the very purpose of a protracted, 
rather than an instantaneous creation, 
looked manifestly to the enlightenment 
and joy of those " morning stars," 
the "sons of God," who beheld the 
scene, then, "sang together and shouted 
for joy " (Job xxxviii. 7.) We may say 
moreover, in regard to each and all of 
t'lese six creative periods, that if the 
holy angols were indeed spectators of 
these scenes, and if God adjusted His 
methods of creation to the pupils — these 
admiring students of His glorious work 
— then surely we must not think of His 
compressing them within the period of 
six human days. Divine days they 
certainly must have been, sufficiently 
protracted to afford finite minds scope 
for intelligent study, admiring contem- 
plation, and as the Bible indicates, 
most rapturous shouts of joy. In this 
case, should geology make large demands 
for time far beyond the ordinary human 
day, we shall have no occasion to strain 
the laws of interpretation to bring the 
record into harmony with such de- 
mands \Dr. Cowles~\. 

Arguments for the literal interpreta- 
tion of the Mosaic day: — "It was 
evening, and it was morning, the first 
day," or, " evening came and morning 
caiue, oiit; day," are terms wh'<"h can 



CHAr. 1 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



never be made to comport with the 
theory of indefinite periods ; and espe- 
cially when there follows God's resting 
from His works, and hallowing the 
seventh day, as a day of sabbatical 
commemorative celebration of the 
work of the other six. Was that, too, 
an indefinite period [Dr. Wardlaio] . 

It is certain that in the fourth com- 
mandment, where the days of creation 
are referred to (Ex. xx. 9-11), the six 
days' labour and the sabbath spoken of 
in the ninth and tenth verses, are 
literal days. By what rule of interpre- 
tation can the same word in the next 
verse be made to mean indefinite 
periods ? Moreover, it seems from 
Gen. ii. 5, compared with Gen, i. 11- 
12, that it had not rained on the earth 
until the third day; a fact altogether 
probable, if the days were of twenty- 
four hours, but absurd if they were 
long periods [^Hitchcock^. 

On the supposition that geological dis- 
coveries necessitate the admission of a 
more remote origin and a longer existence 
to our globe than a few thousands of 
years, the true explanation lies in the 
first verse of Genesis, which leaves an 
undefined interval between the creation 
of matter and the six days' work. Why, 
then, should we not regard the days 
described by Moses as natural days ? 
Chalmers, Buckland, Sedgwick, Dr. 
Kuitz, and Archdeacon Pratt and 
many other writers of eminence, adhere 



to this view, " that the days of Genesis 
are literal days ; that the ages of geo- 
logy are passed over silently in the 
second verse, and that the passage 
describes a great work of God at the 
close of the ' Tertiary Period,' by which 
our planet, after long ages, was finally 
prepared to be the habitation of man." 

Again, let it be observed that the 
whole notion of equality of endurance, 
or of close succession, of these " days " 
of Creation, is imaginary, and imported 
into the narrative. The story of Crea- 
tion is arranged in these periods, familiar 
to us ; the great personal cause of ev«ry 
step in it is God, and God's will. But 
it is as iri-evelant and as foolish to in- 
quire minutely into the lower details 
following on a literal acceptance of the 
terms used in conveying this great truth 
to our minds, as it would be to take the 
same course with the words, " God 
said," to inquire in what language He 
spoke, and to whom. It never can be 
too much impressed upon the reader 
that we are, while perusing this ac- 
count, in a realm separated by a gulf, 
impassable for human thought, from 
the matter-of-fact revelations which our 
senses make to us. We are listening to 
Him who made the world, as He ex- 
plains to us in words ; the imperfect in- 
struments of our limited thoughts, His, 
to us, inscrutable procedure [^Alford]. 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verse 6—8. 

The Atmosphere. 

The word here translated "firmament" more properly means expanse; it comes 
from a Hebrew verb meaning " to spread out/' It is literally " Let there be 
something spread out between the waters " Let us review the uses of the 
atmosphere. I. It is necessary to the possibility of human life. Had not the 
waters been divided by the atmosphere, human life could not have existed. 
Therewould have been no chamber in the great universe for the occupation of 
man. The watei-s would have prevailed. Whereas by the atmosphere the waters 
below were divided from those above, and space was left for the residence of man. 
"The Lord stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as 
a tent to dwell in," Isaiah xl. 22. Thus in the work of the second day we have 
abundant evidence that God was preparing the world for the habitation of man. 
The atmosphere. — 1. Gathers up the vapours. 2. Throivs them down again in rain^ 
snow^ or dew, luhen needed. 3. Modifies and renders more beautiful the light of the 
sun, 4. Sustains life. II. It is necessary for the practical purposes of life. 
Suppose that by some miraculous intervention human life was rendered possible 
without tlie exit-tence of the atmosphere, yet it would be useless and vain, totally 
14 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



CllAP. 1. 



incapable of occupation. 1. The atmosphere is necessary for the transmission of sound. 
If there were no atmosphere, the bell might be tolled, the cannon might be fired, 
a thousand voices might render the music of the sweetest hymn, but not the 
faintest sound would be audible. Thus all commercial, educational and social 
intercourse would be at an end, as men would not be able to hear each other 
speak. We seldom think of the worth of the atmosphere around us, never seen, 
seldom felt, but without which the world would be one vast grave. 2. The 
atmosphere is necessary for many purposes reUited to the inferior objects of the 
world. Without it the plants could not live, our gardens would be divested 
of useful vegetables, and beautiful flowers. Artificial light would be im- 
possible. The lamp of the mines could not be kindled. The candle of the mid- 
night student could never have been lighted. The smoke of the winter fire wovild 
not have ascended into the sky. The bird could not have wended its way to 
heaven's gate to utter its morning song, as there would have been no air to sustain 
its flight. III. Let us make a practical improvement of the subject. 1. To he 
thankful for the air ive breathe. How often do we recognise the air by which we 
are surrounded as amongst the chief of our daily blessings, and as the immediate 
and continued gift of God ? How seldom do we utter praise for it. It is unseen ; 
often unheard ; hence, almost forgotten. Were it visible or audible it might the 
more readily and frequently inspire us with gratitude. The gift is daily. It is 
universal. It should evoke the devotion of the world. 2. To make the best use of 
the life it preserves. To cultivate a pure life. To speak golden words. To make 
a true use of all the subordinate ministries of nature. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verse 6. That the heaven above is 
understood by the firmament is evident, 
because God set the sun, moon and 
stars therein (Verse 14), And that it 
includes the air also, is evident from 
the fact that birds are to fly in it 
(Verse 20). 

God gathered the water below into 
one channel that the earth might be 
dry and habitable : however in His 
wisdom and providence he hath so 
ordered it, that waters issuing out 
from the seas by secret passages, and 
breaking out into fountains, and rivers, 
may thereby make fruitful the valleys 
and lower parts of the earth; yet we 
know that they reach not to the higher 
grounds, much less to the tops of the 
hidls. It was, therefore, needful that 
some water should be carried on high 
above the hills; that from thence they 
might distil in showers upon the higher 
places of the eaith to moisten them, 
that no part thereof might remain un- 
fruitful [J. White]. 

The sky according to optical appear- 
ance: — 1. Carpet (Ps, civ. 2), ^. A 
Curtain (Isa. xl. 22). 3. A transpar- 
ent Avork of sapphire (Ex, xxiv. 10). 
4. A molten looking glass (Job. 
xxxvii. Ib^. 



The water: — 1, Once boundless. 
2. Once useless. 3. Now fruitful. 4. 
Now traversed. 

The gathering together of the waters 
— 1. Some think that the earth was a 
plain without hills, that the waters 
might the more speedily run together ; 
and that the present inequality in the 
land began after the flood. 2. That 
the waters were dried vip by the fervent 
heat of the sun. 3. That the earth 
was dried up by a mighty wind, as 
after the deluge. 4. That it was done 
by the direct command of God. 

God's speaking is His making. Word 
and power go together with Him. 



Verse 7, We must acknowledge 
both the rain and the fruitf ulness of the 
earth as from God, 1, By seeking 
them at His hand (James v, 17). 2, By 
returning thanks to Him for them, as 
blessings of inestimable value, the wunS 
of which would ruin the world in one 
year. 

The firmament is a partition between 
waters and waters. 

The firmament doth its duty at God's 
command, adriiirably to preserve crea- 
tures, auJ abides, 

15 



CHAP. 1 EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENEHIS. 



Verse 8. God wlio gives beiug best tlie ^ame power that created continues 

gives the name to things. Their iia- them. 2. Because God is neither 

tures are well known to Him ... The capable of error or inconstancy. 3. 

second day is God's creature as the Learn to regard the Divine Being as 

first ... Work and day should lead us immutable. 

more to know God their Maker. I. The speaking. II, The dividing. 

Day and night continue — 1. Because III. The naming. 

MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.^Verses 9-13, 
The Sea and the Dry Land. 

I. The Sea. " And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered 
together unto one place." 1. The method of their location. The great waters which 
covered the earth were swept into one place, and were environed by the decree 
and power of God, so that their wild waves would not advance further than 
the Divine permission. Tliis allocation of the waters may have been instrumen- 
tally accomplished by volcanic agency. The land may have been broken up, and, 
amidst the general crasli, the waters may have ru>hed to their destined home. 
When it is said that they were gathered into one place, it simply intimates the 
intei'dependeuce of seas and rivers, and also their unity as contrasted with the 
dry land. 2. The degi-ee of their proportion. We must not imagine that the 
li'iiit and proportion of the sea to dry land is arbitrary — that it is fixed by 
chance, but by the utmost exactitude. If the sea were more or less in extent it 
would be of great injury to the world. If it were smaller, the earth would cease 
to be verdant and fi'uitful, as there would not be sufficient water to supply our 
rivers and .streams, or to distil upon the fields. If the sea was larger, the earth 
would become a vast uninhabitable marsh, from the over abundance of rain. 
Hence, we see how needful it is that there should be a due proportion between 
the sea and dry land, and the wisdom and goodness of the Creator, in that it is 
established so exactly and beneficenlly. 3, The extent of their utilitii. They not 
only give fertility to the earth, but they answer a thousand social and 
commercial purposes. The sea is the highway of the nations. It unites 
the world in the sympathy of common wants ; in the hope of common 
friendships ; and through travel on its waters, men gather a breadth of thought 
and life, that otherwise, would be impossible to them. The men who go down to 
the sea in ships, carry on the great business of the world. If they were to cease 
their occupation, society would receive a serious check. Many of the necessities 
of life — many of our home comfoits are imported from foreign shores, and these 
we could ill afford to dispense with. Not only are our trade relationships sus- 
tained by the passage of vessels from shore to shore, but also our politiLal. In 
this way, other people see our enterprise, and gather an idea of our national 
prowess. Especially have we, as a nation, cause to be thankful for the billows 
which surround our Island home, as our protection from the invasion of a foreign 
foe, and as our discipline in the event of war. True, the seas of the world are 
often strewn with wrecks, caused either by fire or storm; they are the resting 
place of a vast army of once living creatures; they separate loving hearts; but 
notwithstanding, in the present condition of society, they are far more the 
occasion of joy and help, than of sori'ow or impediment. They make the nations 
brotherly. But the time is coming when there will be no more sea ; its commerce 
will be ended, and men, living in one great home, will never hear the mutter of the 
stoim, or the music of wave, II. The dry land. 1. The dry land was made to 
appear. The land had been created before, but it was covered with a vast 
expanse of water. Now the waters are removed, the earth is unveiled, and dry 
land appears at the call of God. Even when things are created, when they 
merely exist, the Divine call must educate them into the fidl exercise of their 
utility, and into the complete manifestation of their beauty. The call of God 
16 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. chap. i. 



gives harmony, adaptation, utility, perfection to all human being. It can com- 
mand the sea into one place of repose. So it can remove the tide of passion 
from the soul, and make all that is good in human nature to appear. 2, It teas 
viade to he verdant. " And let the earth bring forth gi'ass." The plants now 
created are divided into three classes : grass, hex'b, and tree. In the first, the seed 
is not noticed, as not obvious to the eye. In the second, the seed is the striking 
characteristic. In the third, the fruit. This division is simple and natural. 
It proceeds upon two concurrent marks, the structure and the seed. This 
division corresponds with certain classes in our present systems of botany. But 
it is much less simple and complex. Thus was laid the beautiful carpet of 
green, that is now spread throughout the world, and that is so welcome 
to the eye of man. God ordered its colour, that it might be the most 
restful to human vision. When the eye is weak, wi often place a green 
shade over it to obtain ease. Nature might have been clal in a garment gay and 
unwelcome to the vision of man, but not so, she is either white in the purity of 
snow, or green in the verdure of spring. — 

" He makes the grass the hills adorn, 
And clothes the smiling fields with corn." 
3. It was made to he fruitful. "' And the fruit tree yielding fruit." The earth is 
not merely verdant and beautiful to look at, but it is also fruitful and good for 
the supply of human want. It presents attractions to the eye. But even these 
are designed to win man, that they may satisfy his temporal need. Nature- 
appears friendly to man, that she may gain his confidenc e, invite his study, and 
minister to the removal of his poverty. III. And it was good. 1. Fo7' the life and 
health of man. 2. For the beautt/ of the universe. 3. Fof the commerce and pro- 
duce of the nations. 

Vegetation. 

I. That it is the result of a combined instrumentality. 1. There was the 
Divine agency. It was the Power of God that gave seed and life to the earth. 
For it is very certain that the earth could not have produ-^ed grass, and herb, and 
tree of itself. But when empowered by the Divine manr ate there would be no 
limit to its verdure and fertility. 2. The7'e ivas the instrumentality of the earth. 
"And God said, let the earth bring forth grass, &c. So when called by God the 
most barren instrumentalities become life-giving and verdant. When the 
Divine Being is about to enrich men, he gives them the power to help them- 
selves. The soil that is to be fruitful must aid the growth of its own seed. 
II. It is germinal in the condition of its growth. "Seed." Fertility never comes 
all at once. God does not give man blade of grass or tree in full growth, but the 
seeds from which they are to spring. Germs are a Divine gift. This is not 
only true in the physical universe, but the mental and the moral. God does 
not give man a great enterprise, but the first hint of it. He does not make men 
splendid preachers all at once, but gives only the germinal conditions of the same. 
Hence, He finds employment for the world. The cultivation of germs is the 
grandest employment in which men can be engaged. III. It is fruitful in the 
purpose of its life, *' Yielding fruit." 1. Life must not always remain germinal. 
The seed must not alway remain seed. It must expand, develope. This must 
be the case mentally and morally. Life, when healthy and vigorous, is al- 
ways progressive and fruitful. The world is full of men who have great 
thoughts and enterprises in the germ, but they never come to perfection. 
The fruit must be: — 1. Ahundant. 2. Bich. 3. Beautiful. 4. Refreshing. 
IV. It is distinctive in its species and development, "Fruit after his 
kind." What will Mr. Darwin say to this? Is it not a refutation of his 
elaborate theory on the origin of species. The growth wi 1 always be of the same 
kind as the seed. There may be variation in the direction and expression of the 
germinal life, but its original species is unchanged. This is true in the garden of 
the soul. Every seed produces fruit after its kind. 

17 , 



Chap, t 



tlOMlLETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verse 9. "We must learn to leave 
our private sphere of life to enhance 
the common good : — 1. Because all 
creatures are ordained, not for them- 
selves, but for God's honour, for their 
mutual support, and for the preserva- 
tion of the community. 2. Because 
we enjoy nothing in our own exclusive 
right, but have all of God's free gift. 
3. Because the applying of ourselves 
to the furthering of a common good, is 
our greatest honour, profit and safety. 

All creatures in the world obey the 
Voice of God: — 1. Why should that 
voice not command them, which made 
them. 2. Otherwise, it were impossible 
for God to do all things in righteousness. 
S. Let us tremble at the Power of 
Him whom the winds and seas obey. 

Let all men lay it to heart, and bless 
the Author of this great mercy, when 
they look upon the firm foundation of 
their houses, the fruits of the grounds, 
the increase of their cattle ; when they 
enjoy the air to breathe in, the dry 
ground to walk on, and the seas to 
wade in. And let men walk in fear 
before that God who might as easily 
let loose the sea, as keep it within the 
bounds that He hath set [J. White], 

The use of the sea: — 1. To fill the 
hearts of men with fear of that Great 
God, by beholding so vast a creature 
ordered by His power. 2. By obsex-ving 
that by it way is made to the discover- 
ing of the large circuit of the earth. 
3. Beneficial to the life of man by en- 
larging his sphere of work and inter- 
course. 

Verse 10. To God belongs the 
naming as the making of His creatures ; 
the seas are the waters gathered into 
their due place. Good is this globe: — 
1. Suitable unto God's mind. 2. 
Suitable to His own idea of it. 3. 
Suitable for the residence of man. 
The beauty of the earth; the sublimity 
of the sea. The creatures of God's 
making are good. 

Verse 11. It is God's word that 
makes the earth fruitful. Propagation 
18 



of fruit, as well as the first being of it, 
is by God's word; He makes the seed 
and enables it to multiply. 

Verse 12. God will have nothing 
barren or unprofitable: — 1. Not the 
earth. 2.|Not the herbs nor plants. 3. 
Not the beasts, fishes, fowls. 4. Not the 
sun, moon, nor stars, which cherish all 
things by their light. 5. Certainly 
not man. Why? 1. Because all 
things were made to be fruitful. 2. 
That they may testify to the overflowing 
bounty of God. 

Even the grass, herbs, trees, are 
God's creatures: — 1. Let us take notice 
of them as such. — (1.) Their infinite 
variety. (2.) Their beautiful shape. 
(3.) Their marvellous growth. (4.) 
Their life, which kings cannot give nor 
art imitate. God draws life out of 
death. 1. God can do it — He is the 
Life. 2. It is fit He should do it to His 
glory. 3. Let not the Church despair. 

God provides for all his creatures, that 
though they decay daily, yet they shall 
not wholly perish: — 1. To shew His own 
unchangeable continuance by the muta- 
bility of His creatures. 2. To quicken 
us into a desire for heaven, where all 
things are constant and durable. 3. 
To shew, in the variety of His works, 
His eternal wisdom. 

The teaching of the plants — 1. To 
have a life full of good seed. 2. To 
let the goodness of our moral nature 
come to maturity. 3. To care for our 
posterity. 4. To aid the life and enjoy- 
ment of others. 

Fruit resembles the nature of the 
stock from which it comes — 1. There- 
fore let good men shew forth the renew- 
ing of their nature by the works of the 
spirit. 2. Abhor all hypocrisy. 

Verse 13. The evening — 1. A time 
for thought. 2. A time for prayer. 
3. A time for fear. 4. An emblem of 
life. 

The morning — 1. A time for praise. 
2. A time for hope. 3. A time for 
resolution. 4. A time for woi*k. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. chap. i. 



MAIN HOMILETIC S OF THE PARAGRAPH— Verses 14—19. 

The Heavenly Bodies. 

As we have seen, light had been created before ; and now the heavenly bodies 
are introduced into the complete exercise of their light-:^iving purpose. I. The 
heavenly bodies were called into existence by God. "And God said, Let there 
be lights in the firmanent of the heaven," &c. On th's supposition only, that 
the heavenly bodies were called into space by the word of God, can we account for 
their magnitude, variety, and splendour ? 1 . Their mar/nitmle. Only a Divine 
voice could have called the great worlds into being wh-.ch people the realms of 
space. They would not have yielded obedience to the command of man had He 
spoken never so loud and long. True, magnitude is not always associated with 
power, but sometimes with weakness ; yet the vastness of the great heavens above 
us is such as we can only connect with the voice and pnver of God. 2. Their 
variety. There is the sun, moon, stars. The sun to rule the day. The moon 
to rule the night. The stars to be the bright attendants of the midnight Queen. 
The star-light sky is the very emblem of variety, as to magnitude, number, 
and beauty. 3. Their splendour. What artist coi.Id put the splendour 
of the evening sky upon his canvass ? What speaker could describe the 
glory of the midnight heaven ? The stars, shining out from the violet deeps 
of night, are as brilliant lights in the dome of our earth-house, and are as the 
bright carpet of heaven. Before this unrivalled scene ail human effort to attain 
grandeur is feeble, all the achievements of art or science are powerless to imitate 
it ; yet one tone of the Divine voice was sufficient to bid the heavenly bodies 
move into their spheres and work, in which they will continue until the same voice 
bids them halt in their celestial course. 1. The caV was Omnipotent. Man 
could not have kindled the great lights of the uni verso. They are above his 
reach. They are deaf to his voice. They ofttimes strke him with fear. The 
sun-light has to be modified before he can use it. 1 he moon is beyond the 
control of man, or he would never permit her waning. T'le brighest seraph, whose 
whole being is aglow with the light of God, could not have flung these 
celestial orbs into the heavens. Cherubim shed their lustre in other spheres, and 
for other purposes. They cannot create an atom. How the power of God is 
lifted above that of the most dignified creature He has made. His voice is 
omnipotent, and is therefore sufficient to call the si n, moon, and stars to 
their work. Only Infinite Wisdom could have uttered this behest to the 
heavenly bodies. 2. The call ivas ivise. The idea ov the midnight sky, as 
now beheld by us, could never have originated in a finite mind. The thought 
was above the mental life of seraphs. It was the outc )me of an Infinite intel- 
ligence. And nowhere throughout the external universe do we see the wisdom 
of God as in the complicated arrangement, continual motions, and yet easily 
working and harmony of the heavenly bodies. There is no confusion. There 
is j^no disorder. They need no re-adjustment. They are alike the admiration of 
art and science. In their study the greatest genius has exhausted its energy. The 
great clock of the world never needs repairs, nor even th<; little process of winding 
up. The midnight sky is the open page of wisdom's gi-f ndest achievements. 3. 
The call was benevolent. The sun is one of the most ki adly gifts of God to the 
world ; it makes the home of man a thing of beauty. A] io the light of the moon 
is welcome to multitudes who have to wend their way oy land or sea, amid the 
stillness of night, to some far-off destination. 4. The call was typal. The same 
Being who has placed so many lights in the heavens, can also suspend within the 
firmament of the soul the lights of truth, hope, and immortality. The sun of 
the soul need never set ; our thought and feeling may be ever touched by its 
beauty, until the light of earth's transient day shall break into the eternal light 
of the heavenly Temple. II. The purposes for which tae heavenly bodies are 
designed. 1. They were to he for lights. Thex-e had lieen light before. But 

19 



CHAP t. HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



now it is to be realised ; it is to become brighter, clearer, and fuller, more fit for 
all the requirements of human life. Hence, at the command of God, all the lamps 
of the universe were lighted for the convenience and utility of man. They are 
unrivalled, should be highly prized, faithfully used, carefully studied, and devo- 
tionally received. These lights were regnant: — (1.) Their rule is authoritative. 
(2.) It is extensive. (3.) They tvere aliei-nate. (4.) It is munificent. (5.) It is 
benevolent. (6.) It is welcome. A pattern for all monarchs. 2. They were made to 
divide the day from the night. Thus the heavenly bodies were not only intended 
to give light, but also to indicate and regulate the time of man, that he might be 
reminded of the mighty change, and rapid flight of life. But the recurrence of day 
and night also proclaim the need of exertion and repose, hence they call to work, 
as well as remind of the grave. 3. To he for signs^ and for seasons, and for 
days and years. The moon by her four quarters, which last each a little moi'e 
than seven days, measures for us the weeks and the months. The sun, by his 
apparent path in, the sky, measures our seasons and our years, whilst by his 
daily rotation through the heavens he measures the days and the hours ; and 
this he does so correctly that the best watch makers in Geneva regulate all their 
watches by his place at noon ; and from the most ancient times men have 
measured from sun dials the regular movement of the shadow. It has been well 
said that the progress of a people in civilization may be estimated by their regard 
for time, — their care in measuring and valuing it. Our time is a loan. It is 
God's gift to us. We ought to use it as faithful stewards. We shall have to 
give an account of its use. " O Lord, so teach us to number our days, that we 
may apply our hearts unto wisdom " (Ps. xc. 12). " Evening, and morning, 
and at noon, will I cry aloud ; and He shall hear my voice." Tlius the solar 
system is man's great teacher, monitor, and benefactor. III. A few deductions 
from this subject. 1. The greatness and Majest;) of God. How terrible 
must be the Creator of the sun. How tranquil must be that Being who 
has given light to the moon. How unutterably great miist be the Author of tliat 
va"* «S)lar system. One glance into the heavens is enough to overawe man witli 
a sense of the Divine majesty. 2. The humility that should characterise the soul 
of man. " When I consider the heavens the work of Thine hand," &c. What 
great thing is there in man that Thou art mindful of him ? Man, a little lower 
than the angels, should rival them in the devotion and humility of his soul. 
Under the broad heaven man must feel his littleness, thougli he cannot but be 
conscious of his greatness, in that so grand a curtain was spread out for him by 
the Infinite Creator, 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verse 14. God has placed the lights The place and use of creatures are 

above us: — 1. As ornaments of His assigned unto them by God : — 1. That 

throne. 2. To shew forth His majesty. He may manifest His sovereignity. 2. 

3. That they may the more con- That He may establish a settled order 

veniently give their light to all parts of amongst the creatures. 3. Let all men 

the world. 4. To manifest that light abide in their sphere and calling. (1.) 

comes from heaven, from the Father of To testify their obedience to the will of 

Lights. 5. The heavens are most agree- God. (2.) As God knuws what is best 

able to the nature of these lights. 6. for us. (3.) As assured that God will 

By their moving above the world at so prosper all who fulfil His purpose cuu- 

great a distance, they help to discover cerning them, 

the vast circuit of the heavens. The highest creatures are ordained 

The heavenly bodies: — 1. Not to by God for use and service: — 1. Men 

honour them as gods. 2. To honour of the highest rank should apply them- 

God in and by them. (Ps. viii. 1; Tim. selves to some employment for the 

vi. 16 ; Isa. vi. 2.) good of others. 2. They are ordained 

20 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP, I. 



for it. 3. They are honoured there- 
by. 4, They are bound thereunto by 
the law of love. 5. They will be re- 
warded hereafter. 6. Christ has set 
them an example. 

The night is a Divine ordination : — 
1. To set bounds to man's labour. 2. 
To temperate the air. 3. To allow the 
refreshing dews to fall upon the earth. 
4. To manifest the comfort of light by 
its removal. 

The stars a sign : — 1. Of the provi- 
dence of God. 2. Of the olden folly 
of men. 3. Of the changing moods of 
life. 

These luminaries are sometimes made 
by God amazing signs of grace and 
justice. 

These luminaries have natural signi- 
fications at all times. 

Power and influence, as two causes, 
God hath given to the luminaries. 

Verse 15. Light: — 1. Its speed. 2. 
Its profusion. 3. Its beauty. 4. Its 

joy. 

The excellencies of creatures are not 
of themselves, but are the gift of Qod : 
1. Because all perfections are origin- 
ally in God, and therefore must come 
by Avay of dispensation from Him. 2. 
1 hat the honour of all might return to 
Him alone. 3. Let men acknowledge 
all their abilities as from God. 4. 
Seeking all at His hand. 5. Enjoying 
them without pride. 6. Giving thanks 
to Him for them. 7. Using them to 
Hi.s glory. 

What it was that carried the light 
about the woi-ld before the sun was 
made is uncertain ; only this is evi- 
dent, that when God had created the 
body of the sun, and made it fit for that 
use, He planted the light therein ; and 
then that other means ceased, whatsoever 
it was. So that where God provides 
ordinary means, there He usually takes 
away those which are extraordinary : — 
1. Because God makes nothing in vain, 



and consequently removes that for 
which there is no further use. 2. Lest 
other ordinary means should be dis- 
pised. 3. Let no man depend upon 
extraordinary means. 

Though the planets are so far dis- 
tant from us, yet this does not interrupt 
their light and influence. So distance 
cannot hinder us from receiving the 
benefit of God's care. 1. Though 
God's influence be in heaven, yet His 
eye beholds the children of men. 2. 
Let no man's heart fail him because 
God seems so far off. 3. Let not 
distance, either in place or condition 
hinder our desires for the good of 
others. 

Verses 16 — 19. God proportions the 
abilities of His creatures according to 
the uses in which He employs them : — 
1. Thus is the natural outcome of the 
Divine wisdom and sufliciency. 2. 
Necessary to make the workman equal 
to his task. 

Men must make use of light to guide 
and direct them in all their employ- 
ments. 

Though all the creatures are not 
furnished alike, yet none of them lack 
that which is necessuiy for their use 
and employment: — 1. Let no man re- 
pine at his condition. 2. Let no man 
envy another. 3. All degrees of men 
are useful. 4. We cannot enjoy true 
happiness without attention to the 
meanest duties around us. 5. We 
know not to what the meanest may be 
advanced hereafter. 

God provides for the government 
of the day as well as of the night : — 1. 
He can do it, as light and darkness ari3 
alike to him. 2. He must do it to 
keep the world in order. 3. The night 
cannot hide our sins from God. 

These lights were good works of 
God. These glorious works must lead 
to Creator. 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.^Verses 20—23. 

Fish and Fowl. 

I. That life is the immediate creation of God. " And God said, Let the 
waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that hath life," &c. Here 
we get sublime teaching in reference to the origin of life. 1, It was not an 

21 



CHAP. I. HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



education. It was not evoked from anything that had previously existed. It was not 
an emanation from some elementary principle or form of matter. It was not an 
unconscious development. Life bounded into existence at the call of God, and 
kindled its lights in the lower realms of nature, that ultimately it might shine 
resplendent, and find its highest perfection and beauty in the being and soul of man. 
Life as an education is the foolish conceit of a sceptical philosophy. 2. It was 
not the result of combination. Prior to the existence of fish and fowl; there had 
been created the land, the light, the water, and the heavenly bodies had received 
their commission to illumine the universe. Biat life was not awakened by the 
combined agency of any of these. They were without life. The light might 
fall upon the great world uninhabited, but its ray could not evoke one note of 
life, or give impulse to the smallest object on which it fell. Matter is capable of 
many pleasing and useful combinations, but has inherently no life-producing pro- 
perty. 3. It was a miraculous gift. " And God said. Let the waters bring forth 
abundantly the moving creature that hath life." There are two words in this 
sentence that should be remembered, and joined together most closely, they are 
" God " and " life." This should be so in the external universe, for if God 
were to withdraw from it, its whole frame would crumble into dust. This 
should be so in the soul of man, as God is the source of its true and higher life. 
If the church were to remember the connexion of these two great words, she 
would be much more powerful in her toil. Life was at first the miraculous gift 
of God. Its continuance is His gift. It is the product of His voice. This is 
true of all in whom the spark of life is kindled, whether seraph or brute. II. 
That life is varied in its manifestation and capability. 1. Life is varied in its 
manifestations. There were created on this day both fish and fowl. " God created 
great whales, and every living creature that moveth, whicli the waters brought 
forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind." 
Thus life is not a monotony. It assumes different forms. It gives varied im- 
pulses. It grows in different directions. It has several kingdoms. It has 
numerous conditions of growth. 2. Life is varied in its capahility. As life is 
varied in its kind and growth, so is it in its capability. The fish swim in the 
water. The f oavIs fly in the air ; the abilities and endowments of each are distinct 
and varied. They answer different purposes. Each takes a part in the great 
ministry of the universe. The whole in harmony is the joy of man. Envy 
is unknown in the lower region of life. 3. Life is abundant and rich in its 
source. The waters brought forth abundantly. There was no lack of life- 
giving energy on the part of God. Its source was smitten, and life streamed 
forth in rich abundance. The world is crowded with life. It will not soon 
become extinct. Its supplies will not soon be exhausted. The universe will not 
soon become a grave, for even in death there is life, hidden but effective to a new 
harvest. 4. Life is good in its design. God saw that it was good. All life is 
good in its original intention. It was good as the gift of God, and as the glory 
of its possessor. III. That the lower spheres of life are richly endowed with 
the Divine Blessing. The blessing is from God. The truest source of bene- 
diction. The highest hope of man. The richest heritage of nature. It had its 
earnest in the life then commenced. The fish and fowl then created were pro- 
phetic of future blessing. 1. It was the blessing of increasing numbers. 2. It ivas 
the blessing of an extended occupation of the land and sea. 3. Let us always re- 
member that the blessing of God rests upon the lower spheres of life. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verse 20. The decree. 2. The and riches. Thus when He had created 

order. 3. The manner. 4. The kinds, the heavens. He furnished them with 

5. The places. 6. The blessing. stars, the air with birds, the water with 

God leaves nothing empty that he hath fishes, and the earth with herbs, and 

made, but furnisheth all with His store plants, and afterwards with beasts and 

22 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. I, 



men ; so tliat the earth is full of His 
riches, and so is the wide sea. 1. Then 
will God leave His children empty, the 
vessels which He hath formed for Him- 
self ? 2. Let men be ashamed that 
delight in empty houses, or lands un- 
peopled, that they may dwell alone. 
3. We cannot but admire the affluent 
power of God. 

God disposeth all creatures, in such 
places, as are most convenient unto 
them. He fixes the stars in the 
heavens, carries the clouds in the air, 
appoints the waters for the fishes. 1. 
Let us seek places suited to our dis- 
position and temper. 2. Let us comfort 
ourselves in reference to our heavenly 
home, in that it will be suited to our 
condition. 

Life is the gift of God alone. 1. 
Because God only hath life. 2. That it 
may be at His disposal. 3. That He 
may be pi-aised for it. 

1. Let every man be careful to pre- 
serve in any creature so precious a gift. 
2. Let every man glorify God in whose 
hand his breath is. 3. Let it teach us 
to abase all man's work in comparison 
with God's. Men can make pictures 
and statutes, but cannot give them 
breath. 

The variety and diversity of God's 
works is infinite. 

The motion as well as the being of 
every creature is ordered and limited 
by the will and decree of God. 

All these creatures were at first pro- 
duced in full strength for motion. 



The water for fish, and the expanse 
over the earth for fowl, are places of 
sustentation. 

Verse 21. The eminency of any 
creatui'e ought especially to be observed 
for magnifying the work of the 
Creator. 1. The great lights. 2. The 
great whales. 3. After God's image. 

God furnisheth every creatui'e with 
parts and abilities, needful for the 
nature of it, and use, to which He hath 
assigned it. 

God respects and takes special notice 
of all, even the meanest of the works 
that He hath made. 

1. Let the poorest and most neglected 
of men trust the providence of God. 
2. Let the richest stoop to the poor. 

Even the meanest of the creatures 
that God hath made are good. (1.) As 
the effects of His power. (2.) As they 
serve His glory. (3.) As they are useful 
to man. (4.) Let us do nothing but 
that which we can approve. 

Verses 22, 23. Fruitfulness is a 
blessing bestowed only by God Himself. 
1. Seek it by prayer. 2. Expect it 
by faith. 3. Wait for it in obedience. 
4. Receive it with praise. 

There is nothing so vast or wide but 
God can easily furnish and fill it at 
His pleasure. 

God's blessing in creation makes 
these creatures abundant now. 

Every fish and bird is a demonstra- 
tion of God's wisdom, and power and 
goodness. 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 24—26. 



The Animal World. 

I. That the Animal World was created by God. All the creeping things 
of the earth are created by God. The cattle upon a thousand hills were made by 
Him. There is not an insect in the universe, but is the outcome of Divine power. 
Life, in its very lowest form, is the gift of God. Science cannot obtain it ; Art 
cannot evoke it ; dexterity cannot conjure it: God is its only source. If the 
animal world is created by God : — 1. We should regcwd the animcd tvorld with due 
appreciation. Man has too low an estimate of the animal world. We are apt to 
think that there is very little difference between it, and the vegetable world. We 
imagine that a tree has as much claim to our attention and regard as a horse. 
This should not be the case. The latter has a spirit ; is possessed of life ; 
it is a nobler embodiment of Divine power ; it is a nearer approach to 
the fulfilment of Creation. We ought therefore to place a higher estimate upon 
animal life than we do, as we are largely ignorant of its capabilities, and of the 

23 



CHAP. I. HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



development and progress of which it is capable. A worm may teach the soul of 
man a lesson. We are not cognizant of its hidden power. 2. We should treat 
the animal world with humane consideration. If all the animals of the universe, 
which are so useful to man, are the creation of God, then surely they ought to 
have the most kindly treatment of the human race. Surely, we ought not to 
abuse anything on which God has bestowed a high degree of creative care, espe- 
cially when it is intended for our welfare. Also, these animals are dumb ; this 
ought to make us attentive to their wants, as well as considerate in all our treat- 
ment of them. Men .should never manifest an angry spirit toward them. The 
merciful man is merciful to his beast. True, the brute world was designed by 
God for the use of man, and it renders its highest service in the gift of its life 
for the sustentation of the human family. II. That the Animal World was 
designed by God for the service of man. 1. Useful for business. How much of 
the business of man is carried on by the aid of animals. They afford nearly the 
only method of transit by road and street. Many men get their livelihood by 
trading in animals. The commercial enterprise of our villages and towns would 
receive a serious check if the services of the animal creation were removed. 
2. Needful for food. Each answers a distinct purpose toward the life of man ; 
from them we get our varied articles of food, and also of clothing. These ani- 
mals were intended to be the food of man, to impart strength to his body, and 
energy to his life. To kill them is no sacrilege. Their death is their highest 
ministry, and we ought to receive it as such ; not for the purpose of gluttony, 
but of health. Thus is our food the gift of God. III. That the Animal World 
was an advance in the purpose of Creation. The chaos had been removed, and 
from it order and light had been evoked. The seas and the dry land had been 
made to appear. The sun, moon, and stars had been sent on their light-giving 
mission. The first touch of life had becc-.^e visible in the occupants of the waters 
and the atmosphere, and now it breaks into larger expanse in the existence of 
the animal creation, aAvaitiug only its final completion in the being of man. 
IV. That the Animal World was endowed with the power of growth and con- 
tinuance, and was good in the sight of God. 1 . The growth and continuance of 
the animal world was insured. Each atimal was to produce its own kind, so that 
it should not become extinct; neither could one species pass into another by the 
operation of any physical law. 2. The animal world was good in the sight of God. 
It was free from pain. The stronger did not oppress, and kill the weaker. The 
instinct of each anhnal was in harmony with the general good of the rest. But 
animals have shared the fate of man, the shadow of sin rests upon them ; hence 
their confusion and disorder, their pain, and the many problems they present to 
the moral philosopher. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verses 24, 25. The beasts inferior find no original of the soul, or life of 

to man : — 1. In nature. 2. In ad- the beast, but from the earth only, 
vancement. 3. In spiritual estate. The beasts were created by God, and 

The difference between the creation therefore are His: — 1. Let us ascribe 

of beasts and man cannot be passed all the store that we have unto God. 

over without special observation. 2. Let us regard them as the gift of 

Man's body was indeed taken out of God. 3. Let us serve and honour Him 

the earth, as well as the bodies of the with all we possess. 
beasts ; but his soul was not from the By an almighty word God doth 

earth, but from heaven. But in the create all the brutes upon the earth, 
creation of beasts, the body, and soul, The earth is the appointed place for 

or life, is wholly out ol the earth ; for beasts. 

the earth is commanded to bring forth Not only individuals of creatures, 

the living creature — that is, the crea- but kinds, are made of God 
ture, with the life thereof. So that we 
24 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GEXESFS. chap, i 

MAIN HOMILETIC S OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 21—28. 
The Creation of Man. 

I. That the Creation of Man was preceded by a Divine consultation. " And 

God said, Let us make man," &c. 1. This consultation ivas Divine. It was a 
consultation held by the three Persons of the ever Blessed Trinity, who were one 
in the creative work. We are not now listening to the voice of angels ; they can- 
not create an atom, much less a man. They were themselves created. But now 
the Uncreated Ones are contemplating the existence of man, to give completion 
and meaning to their previous work. Man is the explanation of the universe. 
2. This consultation was solemn. The light, the waters and dryland, the heavenly 
bodies, and the brute world, had all heard the voice of God, and obeyed it. But 
no consultation had been held prior to their entrance into the world. Why ? 
because they were matter; dumb, and impotent. But now is to be created a 
Being endowed with mind and volition, capable even of rebellion against his 
Ci'eator. There must be a pause before such a being is made. The project 
must be considered. The probable issue must be calculated. His relation to 
heaven and earth must be contemplated. It is a solemn event. The world is 
to have an intelligent occupant, the first of a race, endowed with superior 
power and influence over the future of humanity. In him terrestrial life will 
reach its perfection ; in him Deity will find the child of its solicitude ; in him 
the universe will centre its mystery. Truly this is the most solemn moment of 
time, the occasion is worthy the council chambers of eternity. 3. This consulta- 
tion was happy. The Divine Being had not yet given out, in the creative work, 
the highest thought of His mind ; He had not yet found outlet for the larger 
sympathies of His heart in the universe He had just made and welcomed into 
being. The light could not utter all His beneficence. The waters could not ar- 
ticulate all His power. The stars did but whisper His name But the being of 
man is vocal with God, as is no other created object. He is a revelation of his 
Maker in a very high degree. In him the Divine thought and sympathy found 
welcome outlet. The creation of man was also happy in its bearing toward the 
external universe. The world is finished. It is almost silent. There is only 
the voice of the animal creation to break its stillness. But man steps forth 
into the desolate home. He »,an sing a hymn — he can offer a prayer — he 
can commime with God — he can occupy the tenantless house. Hence the 
council that contemplated his creation would be happy. XL That man was 
created in the image of God. " And God said, Let us make man in our image, 
after our likeness." Man was originally God-like, with certain lii itations. In 
what respect was man created after the image of God ? — 1. In re'pect to his in- 
telligence. God is the Supreme Mind. He is the Infinite Intelligence. Man is 
like Him in that he also is gifted with mind and intelligence ; he is capable of 
thought. But the human intelligence, in comparison with the Divine, is but as 
a spark in comparison with the fontal source of light. The great Thinkers of the 
age are a proof of the glory of the human intellect. 2. In respect to his moral 
nature. Man is made after the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness. 
He was made with a benevolent disposition, with happy and prayerful spirit, and 
with a longing desire to promote the general good of the universe ; in these 
respects he was like God, who is infinitely pure, Divinely happy in His life, and 
in deep sympathy with all who are within the circle of His Being. '6. In 
respect to his dominion. God is the Supreme Ruler of all things in heaven 
and in earth. Both angels and men are His subjects. Material Nature is 
part of His realm, and is under His authority. In this respect, man is made in 
the image of God. He is the king of this world. The brute creation is subject 
to his sway. Material forces are largely under his command. Man is the deity 
of the inferior creation. He holds a .sceptre that has been Divinely placed in his 

25 



CHAP. I. HOMILETIC COMMENTARY; GENESIS. 



hand. 4. In respect to his immortality. God is eternal. He is immortal. Man 
partakes of the Divine immortality. Man, having commenced the race of being, will 
run toward a goal he can never reach. God, angels and men are the only immor- 
talities of which we are cognizant. What an awful thing- is life. 5. In respect 
to the power of creator ship. Man has, within certain limits, the power of creator- 
ship. He can design new patterns of work. He can induce new combinations, 
and from them can evoke results hitherto unknown. By the good use of certain 
materials, he can make many wonderful and useful things calculated to enhance 
the welfare of mankind. Think of the inventive and productive genius of George 
Stevenson, and others who have enriched society by their scientific or mechanical 
labours. There is in all this — though it falls far short of Creation — a something 
that marks man as in the image of God. III. That the creation of man in the 
Divine image is a fact well attested. " So God created man in his own image " 
(Verse 27). This perfection of primeval manhood is not the fanciful creation of 
artistic genius — it is not the dream of poetic imagination — it is not the figment 
of a speculative philosophy; but it is the calm statement of Scripture. 1. It is 
attested by the intention and statement of the Creator. It was the intention of God 
to make man after His own image, and the workman generally follows out the 
motive with which he commences his toil. And we have the statement of Scrip- 
ture that He did so in this instance. True, the image was soon marred and 
broken, which could not have been the case had it not previously existed. How 
glorious must man have been in his original condition. 2. It is attested by the very 
fall of man. How wonderful are the capabilities of even our fallen manhood. The 
splendid ruins are proof that once they were a magnificent edifice. What achieve- 
ments are made by the intellect of man — what loving sympathies are given out from 
his heart — what prayers arise from his soul — of what noble activities is he capa- 
ble ; these are tokens of fallen greatness, for the being of the most splendid man- 
hood is but the rubbish of an Adam. Man must have been made in the image 
of God, or the grandeur of his moral ruin is inexplicable. Learn: — 1. The dig- 
nity of mans nature. 2. The greatness of man's fall. 3. The glory of man's 
recovery by Christ. ' 

What is the emage of God m which man was created? 

I. Negatively. Let us see wherein the image of God in man does not consist. Some, for 
instance, the Socinians, maintain that it consists in that joowe?- and dominion that God gave Adam 
over the creatures. True, mnn was vouched God's immediate deputy upon earth, the viceroy of 
the Creation. But that this power and dominion is not adequately and completely the image 
of G®d is clear from two considerations: — 1. Then he that had must jMwer and dominion would 
have most of God's image, and consequently Nimrod had more of it than Noah, Saul than Samuel, 
Caesar than Christ — which is a blasphemous paradox. 2. Self-denial and humility will make us 
mdike. II. Positively. Let us see wherein the image of God in man does consist. It is that 
universal rectitude of all the faculties of the soul — by which they stand, act, and dispose their 
respective offices and operations, which will be more fully set forth by taking a distinct survey 
of it in the several faculties belonging to the soul ; in the understanding, in the will, in the pas- 
sions or affections. 1. In the understanding. At its first creation it was sublime, clear, and 
inspiring. It was the leading faculty. There is as much difference between the clear repre- 
sentations of the understanding then, and the obscure discoveries that it makes now, as there 
is between the prospect of landscape from a casement, and from a keyhole. This image was 
apparent: — (i.) In the understanding speculative, (ii.) Lithe practical understanding. 2. In the 
will. The will of man in the state of innocence had an entire freedom to accept or not the 
temptation. The will then was ductile and pliant to all the motions of right reason. It is in 
the nature of the will to follow a superior guide — to be drawn by the intellect. But then it was 
subordinate, not enslaved ; not as a servant to a master, but as a queen to her king, who both 
acknowledges her subjection and yet retains her majesty. 3. In the passion. Love. Now, this 
affection, in the state of innocence, was happily pitched upon its right object; it flamad up in 
direct fervours of devotion to God, and in collateral emissions of charity to its neighbour. 
Hatred. It was then like aloes, bitter, bat wholesome. Anger. Joy. Sorrow. Hope. Fear. 
The use of this point — that man was created in the image of God — might be various ; but it 
shall be twofold : — (i.) To remind us of the iireparable loss we have sustained by sin. (ii.) To 
teach us the excellency of the Christian religion [^Robert South, D.D.'\ 

26 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. I. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verse 26. Man God's last work : — 

1. Then man is God's greatest care. 

2, Then let man give him the best ser- 
vice. 

God has provided all things needful 
for man's supply. 

Works that are important ought to 
be undertaken with counsel : — 1. We 
see not all things. 2. Others are will- 
ling to help us. 3. The welfare of 
others may be concerned in our ac- 
tions. 

Man hath no maker but God alone : — 

1. Then let us praise Him alone. 

2. Let us serve Him entirely. 3. Let 
us seek to know Him fully. 

God's image in man is his greatest 
glory: — 1. Not his ancestry. 2. Not 
his wealth. 3. Not his fame. 

God hath advanced man to have 
dominion over all the works of His 
hands : — 1. To enjoy the benefit of 
them. 2. To take care of them. 3. To 
make a good use of them. 4. To live 
superior to them. 

Man's dominion is God's free gift : — 
1. Therefore we are to recognise God's 
authority in its use. 2. Remember that 
we are only stewards. 3. Be thankful 
for our kingship, 

God hath made Himself known in 
trinity of relation, as well as unity of 
being from the beginning. 

God the Father, Son, and Spirit, put 



forth wisdom, power, and goodness, 
eminently in making man. 

Man in his first estate was a creature 
bearing the most exact image of God's 
rectitude. 

The image of God in man was made 
and created, not begotten, as in the 
Eternal Son. 

Made, in this image, was the best of 
terrestial creatures, for whom all the 
rest were made. 

The image of God resting upon man 
did fit him to rule over all the creatures 
subjected. 

Verses 27—28. Male and female 
are the ordination of God. 

It is by God's blessing that man must 
be sustained, as well as by His power 
that he was created. 

God will have men to understand the 
blessings He gives them. 

God can easily bring multitudes out 
of one. 

All men and nations in the world are 
of one blood, and have one Father. 

Man: — 1. He has to replenish the 
earth. 2. To subdue it. 3. To rule it. 

Those who have possessions in the 
earth must use and husband them, that 
they may be useful and fruitful. 

All the creatures of the earth are the 
servants of man by the appointment of 
God. 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 29—31. 

The Universe God's Gift to Man. 

I. The Gift. 1. Extensive. The Universe is a Divine gift to man. It 
was designed for the occupation of man. The home, Avith all its furniture, 
was presented to him. Nature, from its highest manifestations to its lowest, 
was to minister to his happiness and need. 2. Valuable. The smallest things 
in nature are valuable. Who can tell the value of the tree, of the herb, of 
the grass of the field ? Diamonds are not more valuable than these ; yet they 
are the constant and everyday gift of God to man. 3. Increasing. Every day 
the gift is increasing in value. It becomes more expansive. It is better 
known, and more thoroughly appreciated. Scientific research is giving man 
to see the richness of the Creator's gift. All the gifts of God are productive ; 
time unfolds their measure, discloses their meaning, and demonstrates their 
value. II. The purpose. 1. To evince love. One of the great objects of crea- 
tion was to manifest the love of God to the human race, which was shortly to be 
brought into existence. The light, the sun, the stars, and the creation of man ; 
all these were the love-tokens of God. These were designed, not to display His 

£7 



CHAP. I. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS, 



creative power — His wisdom, but His desire for the happiness of man. 2. To 
teach truth. The world is a great school. It is well supplied with teachers. It 
will teach an attentive student great lessons. All the Divine gifts are instructive. 
3. To srtstnin life. God created man without mea,ns, but it was not His will to 
preserve him without ; hence He tells hira where he is to seek his food. We must 
make use of sucli creatures as God has designed for the preservation of our life. 
God has provided for the preservation of all life. Let us learn to trust God for 
the necessities of life in times of adversity. Men who have the greatest posses- 
sions in the world must receive their daily food from the hand of God. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verses 29 — 31. I. Let every one 
depend upon God for the necessaries 
of life. 1. Asking them by jyrayer. 

2. Acknowledfiincj our own beggary. 

3. Trusting Him by faith. 4. Rememher- 
ing His promise. 5. Obedient to His ivill. 

II. Let us serve Him faithfully at 
whose table we are fed. 1. Else ice 
are ungrateful. 2. Else ive deserve 
famine. 

All the provisions that God allows 
man for food are drawn out of the earth. 

The homeliness of the provision on 
which God intended man to feed. 

Let no man be discontented with 



mean fare : — 1. It is as good as the 
body it noiirishes. 2. It is better than 
we deserve. 3. It is more than we are 
able to procure of ourselves. 4. It is 
more profitable for health. 5. It is 
free from the temptation to excess. 

God gives us not all our provisions at 
once, but a daily supply of them :- - 
1. To manifest His fatherly care. 2. To 
make us dependent on Him. 3. To exer- 
cise our faith. 4. To teach economy. 

God makes provision for all the crea- 
ttu'es He hath made. 

Man was not only a good creature, 
but a blessed one. 



SUGGESTIVE ILLUSTRATIONS FOR CHAPTER L 
By the Rkv. William Adamson. 



Verse 1. 

Science, Godless. Godless Science reads 
nature only as Milton's daughters did He- 
brew; rightly syllabling the sentences, but 
utterly ignorant of the meaning [5. Coley] . 

Design ! Creation is not caprice or chance. 
It is design. The footprints on the sands of 
time speak of design, for geology admits that 
her discoveries all are based upon design. 
And this verse, as the whole creation narra- 
tive, confirms the admission cf scisoce as to 
design. Therefore both the Revelation of God 
and the Revelation of Nature go hand in hand. 
The one has on its bosom the finger marks of 
God, the other wears in its heart the footprints 
of God. Both of them sketch cartoons more 
wonderful than Raphael ; friezes grander than 
those of Parthenon ; sculptures more awe- 
inspiring than those of Karnac and Baalbec ; 
which then is the higher? Surely, Revelation. 
And why ? (1.) Because Revelation alone can 
tell the design. Nature is a riddle without 
revelation: — A Dajdalian labyrinth with Gen. i. 
1. for its gold thread. I may admire the in- 
tricate mechanism of machinery ; or even part 

28 



of the design hanging from the loom ; but all 
is apparent confusion until the master takes 
me to the office, places plans before me, and 
so discloses the design. Revelation is that 
plan — that key by which man is able to 
unlock the arcana of nature's loom. (2.) Be- 
cause that design is the latv of Christ. All are 
parts of one mighty creation, of which Christ 
is the centre. He is the Alpha and the 
Omega — the eternal pivot of creation, like 
Job's luminous hinge {chimeh, a pivot), known 
as Alcyone, around which Madler has estab- 
lished that the universe revolves in wondrous 
circuit, and of which Jehovah asks the 
patriarch : " Canst thou bind the sweet in- 
fluences of the Pleiades ? " The Pythagorean 
idea of the "music of the spheres" has its 
origin after all from the design displayed by 
Revelation. And it is that design — that 
Divine law in Nature we accept; not Darwin's 
theory of development — not Powell's universal 
dominion of law— not Wallace's ''law a neces- 
sity of things." When he asserts that he is 
merely saying a loud Amen ! to the simple, 
sublime, and sufficient solution that the grand 
ideal of Revelation and Nature is the glory of 
the God-man, who is the brightness of the 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Father's glory and the express image of His 
person. 

As Layard and Rawlinson have proved 
the truth of the Scripture narrative from 
relics left behind in the mounds of Khorsabad 
and Temples of Memphis and Thebes — as the 
Palestine Exploration have established the 
truth of the sacred assertions as to ancient 
Jebus, and the huge foundation stone and 
■water seas of Solomon's temple — as Professor 
Porter has substantiated the Mosaic account 
of the Giant Cities of Bashan by discovering 
the ruins of these vast stone fortresses, towns — 
and, as Mr. George Smith has, by exploring 
the ruins of Nineveh and Babylon, confirmed 
the Noachic narrative of the Deluge from the 
brick and tile slates in broken fragments ; so 
pious-minded geologists have dived among the 
pages of Nature's volume, and from the 
remains of the Pre-Adamite world constructed 
the successive scenery wrapt up in vv. 1, 2. 
Still, even then they are as far as ever from 
the Beginning, and are glad to fall back upon 
the simple, sublime, and sufficient solution : 
In the beginning, God created the heaven and 
the earth. 

The mind of the atheist is like a vessel 
which has been filled with paint, and into 
which water is subsequently poured; it 
retains its prejudices, so that its conclusions 
are affected by them. 

Atheism, "Wilfnl. 

The owlet Atheism, 
Sailing on obscene wings across the moon. 
Drops his blue-fringed lids and shuts them 

close. 
And, hooting at the glorious sun in Heaven, 
Cries out, "Where is it? " [_S, T. Coleridge^, 

If heathenism is like the North Pole in its 
natural characteristics, by laying too much 
stress upon the bare letter of creation (see 
Rom. i.) ; then Atheism is like the North Pole, 
by laying too little stress. It, i.e. positive 
philosophy — as Mr. Harrison and John Stuart 
Mill euphoniously style Atheism — strangles' 
all life, and leaves creation like the inaccessi- 
ble and impenetrable wilds of the Antartic 
Circle — bleak, dreary, dead. 

If the charge has been true in past times 
that some students of Revelation wished to 
make Revelation an inverted pyi-amid resting 
on a narrower apex; it is certainly far more 
justifiable to assert that these Atomic philoso- 
phers would make Revelation like a broken 
pillar in the churchyard of death; whereas 
God has made it a temple — not only radiant 
with fair colours and radiating with sapphires 
— but teeming with living worshippers. 

Cultivation. The eye can be trained to 
discover beauty in the landscape, and in 
works of art— or it may have its many 
powers of vision impaired and destroyed, by 
gazing at the sun, or on the snow. So man 
may train his mind to discern the beauties 
of Divine wisdom, power, and goodness in the 



processes of nature. Or still further to pur- 
sue this subject: if a person in perversity 
shuts out the light from his dwelling, and 
lives for years in darkness, the effect would 
be that eventually ho would grow sickly and 
wretched — like those plants which are reared 
in cellars, from which all sunlight is i-igidly 
excluded. The mind that shuts out Qod 
from nature, becomes sickly, and loses the 
jjower of enjoying the sunlight. It is there- 
fore not only pleasing, but profitable to culti- 
vate the habit of tracing tracks of the Divine 
foot-prints on Nature's breast. To him, who 
can read it aright, that surface is covered 
with celestial types and prophetic hiero- 
glyphics — marked like the dial-plate of a 
watch. Not that Nature has on her page 
hieroglyphics, which spell out a pardon for 
sin. Those marks only tell of His wisdom, 
benevolence, and majesty; and so far as Na- 
ture is concerned, the proposition, that must 
be solved before my dying pillow can be 
peace, remains unexplicated — unreconciled — 
and unknown. 

Reason and Revelation, Sailing over 
the great oceans of our earth, the voyager 
sometimes sees on the far-off horizon a thin 
mist-cloud or streak, which to my telescope 
leaps up a green island, cut off from the main- 
land by a broad belt of waters, too broad to 
look across, and whose indwellers have no 
means of passage, well i-e2oresents our world 
regarded apart from revelation. You stand 
on the highest hill in the island, and you see 
nothing but the girdling sea. The people of 
the island " dwell alo7ie. " There are tradi- 
tions, it may be, of white-sailed ships, and of 
visitors from lands across the ocean ; but these 
traditions belong to the far-vanished past. 
The little sea-girt island sits in the sea, alone, 
and is sundered from all intercourse, other 
than chance or shipwreck bring from the 
mainland. Now, as I have said, may I not 
thus symbolize our earth apart from the 
Bible ? To sense and unaided reason, we too 
seem to occupy just such an ocean-girt island, 
divided and sundei'ed from the spirit-realms. 
But it is not so. T/iis earth of ours is not the 
lonely place it seems. Far up above its din, 
and tumult, and dust, — 

" Beyond the glittering starry skies," 

is a pui'e and blessed world— sinless, sorrow- 
less — where '"the Higli and Lofty One " un- 
veils His glory to the blessed dwellers ; and 
with this high and holy, and radiant world 
we are connected. Do you ask me how ? 
My answer is, by the mediation of Curist, our 
High-Priest — by the thousand thousand cries 
of prayer — by the magnanimous abiding of 
the Holy Spirit — by heaven jDeopled from 
earth — by the ministration of angelic visits — 
by the well-nigh infinite outgoings of grace 
[ Gi'osart^ . 

Reason and Faith. We would represent 
Reason and Faith as twin-born; the one 
in form and features the image of manly 
beauty — the other, of feminine grace and 

29 



CHAP. 1. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



gentleness; but to each of whom, alas! is al- 
lotted a sad privation. While the bright eyes 
of Reason are full of piercing and restless in- 
telligence, his ear is closed to sound ; and 
■while Faith has an ear of exquisite delicacy, 
on her sightless orbs, as she lifts them to- 
wards heaven, the sunbeams play in vain. 
Hand in hand the brother and sister, in all 
mutual love, pursue their way through a 
world on which, like ours, day breaks and 
night falls alternate ; by day tlie eyes of Rea- 
son are the guide of Faith, and by night the 
ear of faith is the guide of Reason. As is 
wont with those who labour under these pri- 
vations respectively, Reason is apt to be eager, 
impetuous, impatient of that instruction which 
his infirmity will not permit him readily to 
apprehend ; while Faith, gentle and docile, is 
ever willing to listen to the voice by which 
alone truth and wisdom can effectually reach 
her \_Prof. Rogers], 

Sciences, Human. Human sciences are 
like gaslights in the streets. They serve 
our piirpose only while the heavens are dark. 
The brighter the sky, the more dim and use- 
less they become. When noontide floods the 
town, they are buried though they burn. No 
sooner will the sun of absolute truth break on 
the firmament of our souls, than all the lights 
of our poor logic shall go out. Knowledge, it 
shall vanish away [^Dr. Thomas], 

Science only an Agent. We glory in 
the conquests of science, but wo look upon 
science as merely an agent. Science may be 
a botanist, but who started the vital fluid in 
the veins of the herb and flower ? Science 
may bo a geologist, but who wrote the rock- 
covered page, whose hieroglyphics she would 
translate ? Sciense may be an astroiiomer, 
but who built the worlds, who projected the 
comets, whose mysterious path she traces ? 
Science may be an agricnlturist, she may open 
the earth's breast and cast in most precious 
seed, but if the fountains of dew be stayed. 
Science herself will die of thirst ! Be it ob- 
served, then, that science is an agent, not a 
cause, and that while we rejoice in its agency, 
we are bound to acknowledge the goodness 
of the Infinite Intelligence [Br. J. Parker]. 

Creation. A gentleman, being invited to 
accompany a distingiiished person to see a 
grand building, erected by Sir Christopher 
Hatton, desired to be excused and to sit still, 
looking on a flower he held in his hand, "For," 
said he, "I see more of God in this flower 
than in all the beautiful edifices in the world." 

Not a flower 
But shows some touch, in freckled streak or 

stain 
Of His unrivalled pencil. He inspires 
Their balmy odours, and imparts their hues. 
And bathes their eyes with nectar, and in- 
cludes. 
In grains as countless as the seaside sands, 
The forms with which He sprinkles all the 
earth \_Cowper]. 

30 



Creation was Adam's library ; God bade him 
read the interesting volumes of His works, 
which were designed to make known the 
Divine character \_Legh Richmond], 

Atheism Modern. The Atheism of this age 
is chiefly founded upon the absurd fallacy 
that the idea of law in Nature excludes the 
idea of God in Nature. As well might they 
say the code of Napoleon in France excludes 
the idea of Napoleon from France. To me, no 
intuition is clearer than this — that intelligent 
control everywhere manifests the presence of 
a ruling mind. To me, physical law, in its 
permanence, expresses the immutable per- 
sistence of His will ; in its wise adjustments, 
the infinite science of His intellect, in its 
kindly adaptations, the benevolence of His 
heart \_Coley], 

Reason ! Atheism ! Whilst expressing sor- 
row, the thoughtful and pious student of 
science can hardly refrain from smiling at the 
extreme deductions of what is called "the 
Modern School of Philosophy." This modern 
school has its numerous and divergent theories 
on the Origin of Nature ; but all these divei"- 
sities have their common root "in the evil 
heart of unbelief." A system of Metaphysics 
and Psychology based entirely on the percep- 
tions of the senses, like that of Spencer, Bain, 
and Mill ; a system of Morals recognising no 
test of duty but public utility in the interest 
of the race ; the natural evolution of Darwin — 
the Lucretian doctrines of Tyndall — the auto- 
matons frogs of Mr. Hiixley — the religion of 
humanity of Congreve and Conte — the lamen- 
tations of Gregg over the enigmas of life — 
and Arnold's last caricature of the Deity, have 
all a common source. That soiirce is "an- 
tagonism to the Cosmogony of the Bible." 
Their views are the natural growth of a false 
and shallow philosophy, which excludes from 
its sphere of vision the very conception of a 
power in Nature, yet above Nature, and 
which denies the evidence of the spiritual 
origin and destiny of our being. To borrow 
an illustration from a German seer, men see 
the spinning-wheel but not the spindle, and 
then declaim against the senseless clatter of 
the world. We regard them with sorrow, as 
the disciples of a corrupt and degraded school 
of thought, who are resolved not to see the 
bright, unfading star of hope — 

To quench the only ray that cheered the 

earth. 
And leave mankind in night which has no 

star. 

Verse 2. 

Darkness and Deep ! Nothing could 
be more erroneous than the impression 
that by " deep " is meant the " waters " of 
V. 6. By " deep " here is meant the fluid sur- 
face of the earth — upon which darkness was. 
But what does the phrase import? Does it 
mean (1.) Nothing more than a mere nega- 
tion ? or (2 ) Something more than a mere 
negation, i,e., obstruction. Again, was it 
(a) Nothing more than a mere natural obstruc- 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. I. 



tion? or (h) Something more than a mere 
natural obstruction, i.e., a Satanic sti'uggle to 
suspend the Divine Creative procedure ? This 
brings up the subtle speculation as to whether 
Satan had fallen previously to the " deep," 
when — 

What were seas 

Unsounded, were of half their waters drained, 
And what were wildernesses oceas beds ; 
And mountain ranges, from beneath upheaved, 
Clave with their granite peaks primeval plains. 
And rose sublime into the water floods. 
Floods overflow'd themselves with seas of 

mist. 
Which swathed in darkness all terrestrial 

things. 
Once more unfurnished — empty — void, and 

vast. 

Some authoi's maintain that he had, and that 
the obstruction was not only "natural," but 
" angelic" — i.e., that Satan, as the prince of 
darkness, endeavoured to hinder the great 
development of Creative Providence. Others 
have taken up the view that the temptation 
in Eden was the first overt act of rebellion on 
Satan's part. If this be so, it is clear that the 
obstruction was only " natural " — darkness was 
upon the face of the deep. Whichever is cor- 
rect, in whole or in j^art, it seems clear to iis 
that the " darkness " has a double reflection, 
backwards and forwards : (1.) Light must 
ever precede ere there can be darkness ; and 
(2.) Darkness must ever be the shadow of 
coming light, as holding it back. And two 
things follow upon this: — 1. It sweeps away 
entirely the whole notion that the "light" in 
V. 3 means "primal origination." Did light 
exist previous to the Divine fiat in v. 3 ? It 
did ; for as the Prince of Light existed before 
the prince of dai-kness, so did the natural 
light before the natural darkness. 2. It con- 
firms the view that between vv. 1 and 2 there 
was a long period (or series) of successive eras 
of light and darkness, ending in that chaotic 
gloom of V. 2, which preceded God's recreative 
command : — 

Such universal chaos reigned without ; 
Within, the embryo of a world. 

That chaotic gloom was night, figurative of 
the morning struggle between light and dark- 
ness now. There is an endless strife between 
moral light and darkness. The armies of 
light and darkness are contending in fierce 
fight. Darkness is upon the face of the deep ; 
but the night — the moral night — of evil 
is far spent (Rom. xiii). The triumph of 
the prince of darkness and his phalanxes 
of sin is near its close. The dawn is 
near. The Divine fiat will soon be heard: 
"Let there be light;" for at eventide (/.c, 
our dark hour before the dawn) it shall 
be light (Zech, xiv. 7). Darkness overtakes 
not that day, for there shall be no more night 
(Rev. xxi.) ; but the Lord shall be the Ever- 
lasting Light (Isaiah Ix. 19). Between the 
" original creation " of light and the terrestrial 
era in v. 2 there may have been cycles of mil- 
lennial days completed. 



Verses 3, 4, and 5. 
And God said. How long did the spirit 
bi-ood over chaos? When did God say, 
" Let there be light ?" Moses does not tell 
us. He states results, not processes. He 
brings the thing pi'oduced into close proximity 
with the producing cause. The instrumen- 
tality employed, as well as the time engaged, 
are not mentioned. Man is not forbidden to 
enquire concerning these ; but Moses did not 
write to gratify such a sj^irit. He wrote to 
teach that itwas at the bidding of the Almighty 
that light dawned — that the waters retired 
within the limits assigned to them— that the 
vast continents and mountain chains lifted 
their heads — that the flowers looked forth in 
beauty in the valley ; and that the great lights 
of the fii'mament took each its station on high, 
and began to run its appointed course in the 
heavens. It was by this word — in fine — that 
the woiid passed through all its various stages 
of progress //•o»( chaos to the ivondrous scene of 
order and beauty which filled the eye of Adam; 
and the first of these stages of progress was 
the call to light. 

"Let there be light," said God — and forthwith 

light. 
Ethereal first — of things — quintessence pui'e — 
Sprang from the deep, and from her native 

east 
To journey the airy gloom began, 
Sphered in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun 
Was not ; she in a cloudy tabernacle 
Sojourned the while [^Milton']. 

All Nature, (says a thoughtful mind) is 
one storehouse of parables to the thoughtful 
mind. Science, even when most careless, can 
hardly help stumbling on some of them in its 
way. But the more carefully we weigh its 
discourses, the richer we shall find them to be 
in lessons of wisdom. The links which bind 
the planets to their sun are not so firm as 
those which bind the outward world of sense 
and matter to the higher and nobler truths of 
the spiritual world. Nature is one vast mirror 
in which we may see the dim reflection of a 
nobler field of thought than the conflict of 
jarring atoms, or integrels of atomic force can 
ever supply. We need first to gaze downward 
that presently we may look upward; and turn- 
ing (says Birks) from the shadows to the sub- 
stance — from things seen and temporal to the 
unseen and eternal — may veil our faces before 
the mission of a greatness that is unsearchable 
and a goodness that is unspeakable, and in 
the spirit of Christian faith and hope may 
gaze on the uncreated light, and rejoice with 
trembling while we adore. 

Light ! There is more than sublimity in 
these words; there is prophecy. As it was in 
the beginning, so shall it be once again before 
time shall close. The scene here is a predic- 
tive type — a germinal budding (to use Bacon's 
expression) of the earth's moral regeneration 
in a futiire age, both (1.) as to the order in 
which it was done, and (2.) as to the time it 
occupied. At present the waters of supei'- 
stition lie deep on the face of the earth 

31 



CHAP. I. 



HOMlLETtC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



while the spirit has licen moving on the space 
of those waters — the great moral chaos for 
6,000 years. The Divine voice shall again be 
hoard saying, "Let there be light;" and the 
light, which has struggled ineffectually with 
the darkness for 6,000 years, shall break, forth 
on all sides, and with boundless brilliancy and 
prevailing power dart its rays to the very ends 
of the earth, so that the magnificent appeal of 
the seraphic Isaiah will receive its full con- 
summation : Arise, shine ! for thy light is 
come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon 
thee. 

Of old, 
Messiah^riding on the heavens serene — 
Sent forth His omnipresent Spirit to brood 
Over the troubled deep : then spake aloud, 
" Let there be light !" 
So shall it as certainly be when the reign 
of grace has closed — when the brooding of the 
spirit — for regenerative purposes has ceased. 
The Divine Word shall send forth His eternal 
fiat over the moral and spiritiial chaos ; and 
straightway shall at His command, * 
Light pierce the canopy of surging clouds. 
And shoot its penetrative influence through 
Their masses. Then shall the broken clouds 
Melt into colours as a dream. 

Creation ! Here we have : — 1. The Author ; 
2. The Order ; 3. The Purpose _; and 4. The 
Period of Creation ! In all times, and in 
every heathen land, people have had their 
thoughts and dreams about the way in which 
this fair world and yonder bright heavens 
came to be. One asserts the eternity of mat- 
ter, another argues that they originated in 
chance ; and both of these rank in wisdom 
with the quaint explanation of Topsy — that 
they grew. The Bible clears up all obscurity 
by declaring that whatever wonders Science 
may reveal in heaven and earth, the simple 
truth remains that God created all — not at 
once, but gradually and progressively : i.e., 
(i.) from the lowest to the most perfect forms 
of being, and (2.) during unknown and inde- 
finite periods of time : — 
God is a God of Order, though to scan 
His works may pose the feeble powers of man. 
Nowhere do we meet with conilictiug plans. 
All is created in the order of progression. 
Throughout all Nature, from the earliest zoo- 
phyte and seaweed of the Silurian rocks, to 
the young animals and plants that came into 
exisience to-day — and from the choice gems 
that were produced when the earth was with- 
out form and void, to the crystals which are 
now forming — one golden chain of harmony 
links all together, and identifies all as the 
work of the same Infinite Mind. As Paley 
says : " We never find traces of a different 
creator, or the direction of a different will. 
All appears to have been the work of ONE, 
more so than appearances in the most Jinished 
machhwof.huma-'Q.^^ustruction ; for — 
Tnra' Human ^<^ " -"qrh laboured on with 

, Pf?;°' ^ ^"ss as the se ^. , 

A thousand mo^ jjg spriP*^^ °°° object 

gain : 

82 



In God's, one single can its end produce, 
Yet serves to second, too, some other use. 

Darkness and Light ! How great is this 
mystery ! And, as the light cast upon a 
diamond only brings out its beauties, so the 
light of Science only reveals more and more 
the mysteries of darkness and light. The 
prism of late has been unusually rich in new 
discoveries. The pathway in which Newton 
took the first main step has been explored 
anew, and secret marvels have been disclosed 
in every step of the progress, opening up a 
wondrous field of beauty in the Divine en- 
quiry: "KJnowest thou the pathway of light?" 
The waves of light, from 4,000 to 6,000 in one 
inch — these swift undulations, hundreds of 
millions of millions in one second, baffle and 
confound the mind. The beautiful gradation 
of tint and shade deduced from- the pure white 
of the sunbeam — the strange fusion with heat 
at one end of the scale, the passage into mag- 
netic force at the other — the dark lines that 
take their stations, like sentinels, in the midst 
of LIGHT itself, and turn in other cases into 
lines of double brightness— all stimulate the 
curiosity of Science, while they disclose depths 
of mystery in the Scripture fiat: "Let there 
be light!" 
" Let there be light! " O'er heaven and earth. 

The God, Who first the day-beams poured. 
Uttered again His fiat forth. 

And shed the Gospel's light abroad — 
And like the dawn, its cheering rays 

On rich and poor were meant to fall, 
Inspiring their Redeemer's praise, 

In lowly cot and lordly hall. 

Light ! Biblical criticism and scientific 
research are more in harmony than ever on 
the great questions and problems of Genesis. 
It is McCosh who says that Science and Re- 
ligion are not opposing citadels, frowning de- 
fiance on each other, and their troops brandish- 
ing armour in hostile attitude. There was a 
time when that fratricidal strife was indulged 
in ; but, happily, a change has taken place. 
Men of science now agree with Herschelthat 
the creation of the world is a subject beyond 
the range of science ; while some are prepared 
to follow Hugh Miller, when he says that even 
its present formation is beyond that range. 
The greater number readily accept the defini- 
tion of Ohalmers — that Nature is the hand- 
maid of Revelation, and that it is for Nature's 
students to aid her in washing the hands and 
feet of Revelation as she struggles against 
principles of atheism and sin. As the stu- 
dents of Nature, men of science, while main- 
taining that the truths of Revelation do not 
inform them of the deductions of Physical 
Science, as strongly assert (1.) that the study 
of Nature teaches not the truths of Revelation ; 
though (2.) that it does confirm and illustrate 
those truths. This is especially the case with 
reference to Gen. i., and notably of the state- 
ments as to " LIGHT." These statements have 
been held up to ridicule — have been treated 
with contempt — have been pounded with the 
scientific mortar mercilessly — have been flung 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAI\ i. 



into tlie crucible of liiiman intellect, set over 
a fire of scientific knowledge, heated seven- 
fold ; 'with what result ? The account as to 
"light" has been found to harmonize in every 
point with the ascertained deductions of 
Natural Science. The great difficulty was : 
" How could light be before the sun ?" All 
perplexity has disappeared, as autumn mists 
before! the glorious orb of day. Science has 
discovered that light is not conditioned liy 
perfected luminous bodies, Init that light 
bodies are conditions of a preceding liuninous 
element : i.e., that light could exist before the 
sun. Did it so exist in Gen. i. ? — Revelation 
alone can tell. Some assert (1.) that the sun 
did not exist till the fourth day, and that the 
light sufficed for all plants previously formed ; 
others declare (2.) that the sun did exist, but 
that his light was retarded by the mists and 
exhalations. It matters not, therefore, whether 
that light (1.) emanated from a luminous ele- 
ment — a sea of subtle and elastic ether — 

" Immense, imponderable, luminous, 
Which — while revealing other things — re- 
mains 
Itself invisible, impalpable, 
Pervading space ;" 

or (2.) undulated from a luminous body ; 
Avhether that light (1.) was independent of 
the sun, or (2.) came through mists from the 
sun. It is, however, worthy of notice that the 
Hebrew makes a definite distinction between 
the light of the first and that of the fourth 
day, from which distinction it is not unrea- 
sonable to infer that there is no necessary 
connection between light and luminoiisness : 
i.e., that luminaries are after all only a con- 
centration of pai'ticles of light previously 
existing as light. 



Heaven ! Ver. 8. Look above you, and 
in the over-arching firmament read the truth 
of an all-pervading Providence. " Yon sky," 
says Gill, " is God's outspread hand, and the 
glittering stars are the jewels on the fingers of 
the Almighty." Do you not see that His 
hand closes round you on all sides ? you can- 
not go where imiversal love shines not ? As 
Luther remarked : " I was at my window, and 
saw the stars, and the sky, and that vast and 
glorious firmament in which the Lord has 
placed them. I could nowhere discover the 
columns on which the Master has siipported 
His immense vault, and yet the heavens did 
not fall. I lieheld thick clouds hanging above 
us like a vast sea, and I could perceive neither 
gi'ound on which they reposed, nor cords by 
which they were suspended, and yet they did 
not fall upon us. Why ? Because 

" There is a power, 
Unseen, that rules the illimitable world, 
That guides its motion from the brightest 

star 
To the least dust of this sin-tainted mould." 

Thomson. 

D 



Mountains ! Ver. 9. Fancy the mountains 
brought d(jwn to the level of a uniform plane. 
Conceive no peaks soaring aloft into the 
regions of perpetual snow — no declivities, 
leading the wanderer in a few hours from 
Arctic colds to the genial mildness of an 
Italian sky. Pictiu-e no precipitous streams, 
whose foaming waters as they bound along 
first reflect the dark pine in their crystal 
mirror, then the sturdy oak, then the noble 
chestnut, or the graceful laurel. How mono- 
tonous would be the landscape ! how uniform 
the character of organic life over vast tracts 
of coiTntry, where new vegetation — thanks to 
the perpetual changes of elevation and aspect 
of the soil — is seen revelling in endless multi- 
plicity of forms. But what if earth 

" Be but the shadow of heaven, and things 
therein, 
Each to other like, more than on earth is 
thought." 

L.and and Water! Ver. 10. The actual 
distribution of sea and land over the surface of 
the globe is of the highest importance to the 
present condition of organic life. As Hartwig 
asserts, if the ocean were considerably smaller^ 
or if Asia and America were concentrated 
within the tropics, the tides — the oceanic cur- 
rents — and the meteorological phenomena, on 
which the existence of the vegetable and 
animal kingdoms depend, would be so pro-" 
foundly modified, that it ia extremely doubtful 
whether man could have existed. It is abso- 
lutely certain that he could never have risen to 
a high degree of civilization. But now nations, 
by means of commerce and missionary enter- 
prise, are holding communion with nations and 
mutually enriching each other by the stores of 
knowledge, experience, and religioiis education 
which they have each accumulated apart. 
Christianity is rapidly melting the separate 
nationalities into one ; but the fusion of these 
discordant elements into one glorious harmony 
— pure as sunlight — inspiring as a strain of 
music — will never be accomplished iintil the 
Son of God shall come in the clouds of heaven 
to set His throne upon the borders of the sea 
of glass mingled ^^•ith fire — 

" And on that joyous shore 
Our lightened hearts shall know 
The life of long ago ; 
The sorrow-burdened past shall fade for' 
evermore." 

Flowers! Ver. 11. A pleasant WTiter 
tells of a Texas gentleman who had the misfor- 
tune to be an xinbeliever. One day he was 
walking in the woods reading the writings of 
Plato. He came to where the great writer 
uses the great phrase, "Geometrizing." He 
thought to himself, " If I could only see plan 
and order in God's works, T could be a believer." 
Just then he saw a little " Texas star" at his 
feet. He picked it up, and thoughtlessly began 
to count its petals. He found there were five. 
He counted the stamens, and there were five 
of them. He counted the divisions at the base 



HO MI LET IC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



of the flower, and there were five of them. He 
then set about multiplying these three fives to 
. see how many chances there were of a flower 
being brought into existence without the aid of 
mind, and having in it these three fives. The 
chances against it were one hundred and 
twenty-five to one. He thought that was very 
strange. He examined another flower, and 
found it the same. He multiplied one hundred 
and twenty-five by itself to see how many 
chances there were against there being two 
flowers, each ha\'ing these exact relations of 
numbers. He foimd the chances against it 
were thirteen thousand six hundred and twenty- 
five to one. But all around him there were 
multitudes of these little flowers ; they had 
been growing and blooming there for years. 
Now, he thought, this shows the order of in- 
telligence ; the mind that has ordained it is 
God. And so he shut up his book, and picked 
up the little flower, and kissed it, and ex- 
claimed, " Bloom on, little flowers ; sing on, 
little birds ; yoii have a God, and I have a 
God ; the God that made these little flowers 
made me." 

Your voiceless lips, O flowers, are living 

preachers ; 
Each cup a pulpit — every leaf a book." 

— Longfellow. 

Flowers ! Ver. 12. Nothing can equal the 
immense variety of flowers — their charming 
colours — or their delicious fragrance. Without 
the flowers, the variety of perfumes which regale 
our sense of smell would be but small ; "without 
them its faculties of enjoyment would not have 
liarmonized with the outer world. Those who 
have studied most about flowers reckon that 
there are about 80,000 different kinds already 
known. An English gentleman, who was tra- 
velling in Persia lately, says that on one occa- 
sion he was invited into the garden to breakfast, 
where the flowers were so numerous that a 
great pile of rose-leaves was heaped up for a 
table before each guest. A carpet was laid 
over each pile. Cleopatra, the beautiful but 
profligate queen of Egypt, made a very poor 
use of the flowers which God in His goodness 
has caused to grow for onr pleasure, when she 
wanted to give a splendid feast to Antony, the 
great Roman general, she procured roses 
enough to cover the floor of the large dining 
hall three feet thick all over ; mats were then 
spread over the floor, and the guests sat down 
to feast. This was a pitiful return to Him 
who has 

"Mantled the green earth with flowers, 
Linking our hearts to natm-e !" — Hemans. 

Nature ! Ver. 12. When we see a cottage 
with honeysuckle and roses twined round its 
porch, and bright flowers trained in its windows 
and growing in its little garden plot in front, 
it is a sign to us, says one, that the evils of 
poverty are unknown in that home — that the 
inmates are raised above the fear of want — and 
that, having the necessary food and raiment pro- 
vided for them, the head of the home is at leisure 



and liberty to devote his care to the simple plea- 
sures of natural life. And so, when we see in this 
great house — this earth of ours — bright flowers 
growing in every -window and doorway, and 
associated with all the uses of domestic economy, 
we cannot but regard the circumstance as a 
proof that the great Householder attends both 
to the lower and to the higher wants of His 
family. In otlier words, if God has provided 
the superfluities of nature — i.e., flowers — it is 
a pledge and guarantee that He will provide 
the things which are necessary — that, in fact, 
food and raiment shall not be wanting. 

" Heart, that cannot, for cares that press, 

Sing with the bird, or thy Maker bless 

As the flowers may, blooming sweet, 

V\^ith never an eye but God's to greet 

Their beauty and freshness, learn to trust ! 

Lift thy thought from the earthy dust ! 

^ Flower-lessons ! "\'er. 1 3. An old woman 
lived in a cottage, and had long been confined 
to her bed vvitli sickness. Near her lived a 
little girl, whose mother was very poor, and 
had little to give to her stricken neighbour. 
The maiden had a geranium which some one 
had given to her. It gi-ew in a flower-pot in 
the window ; and when it bore flowers, both 
mother and daughter found sweet pleasure in 
watching their bloom developing. The little 
girl plucked the nicest of these blossoms, and 
carried it to tlie sick woman, who was lying in 
her bed, suffering great pain. In the afternoon 
a lady called, and observed the beautiful gera- 
nium flower in an old broken tumbler on a 
little stand by the old woman's bed. " That 
flower makes me think what a -wonderful God 
we have ; and if a flower like this is not too 
little for Him to make and take care of, I am 
sure He -will not forget a poor creature like 
me." During the great Manchester cotton- 
famine some years ago there was much distress, 
and many were in a state of starvation. Among 
them was an aged couple, who sold everything 
that could be turned into bread. They could 
not, however, sell a beautiful flower which 
they had in a flower -pot ; so that they lived in 
an empty room, with only this gem of nature. 
" That flower has been such a comfort to us in 
all our trouble ; for when we look at it morning 
after morning, it seems to preach to us all the 
time, and to tell us of trust in God." Yes, 
God sent them 

" To comfort man — to -whisper hojie, 
Wliere'er his faith is dim ; 
For He who careth for the flowers. 

Will care much more for him."— Ilowltt. 

God in Nature! Ver. 14. The heavens 
declare the glory of God. But not the heavens 
ONLY. There are many sources whence we 
m.ay derive some faint glimpse of the divine 
glory. Yet we must be inside to see clearly. 
Standing within a cathedral, and looking 
through its stained and figured -windows to- 
wards the light, we behold the forms and 
colours by the light. Standing outside and 



nOMILETIG COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



gazing at the same windows, v/a see notliiug 
but blurred and indistinct euamelling. And 
so we must stand within the temple-pile of 
nature if we would see the glaring hues of 
divine glory, especially in the oiitburstings of 
noontide splendour, in the silent pomp of the 
noiseless night, in the moou walldug in her 
briglitness like some fair spirit wading through 
the opposing clouds of adversity in the starry 
garden of the firmament, those flowers of the 
sky budding with hopes of immortality. Thus 
worshipping reverently within nature's cathe- 
ih'al, we see that 
" The iieavens are a point from the pen of His 

perfection ; 
The v.'orld is a roseb\id from the liower of His 

beauty ; 
The sun is a spark from the light of His 

wisdom." — Sir Wm. Jonfs. 

Sun ! Ver. 15. Dr. Hayes, the arctic ex- 
plorer, graphically describes the return of the 
sun after an absence of long cold months. 
For several days the golden flush deepens 
until the burning forehead of the " King of 
Day " rises above the horizon to circle round 
it half the year. The inexpressible delight 
with which the morning glory is hailed almost 
makes one cease to wonder that the sun has 
had devout woi-shippers. — 
" Most glorious orl) ! thou wert a worship, ere 
The mj'stery of thy making was revealed ! 
Thou earliest minister of the Almighty, 
Which gladdened, on their mountain tops, the 

hearts 
Of the Chaldean shepherds, till they poured 
Themselves in oi-isons." — Byron. 

Sun and Moon! Ver. 15. We consider 
the suii the type of Christ, and the moon as 
the type of the Church. It is remarkable that 
at the crucifixion the sun was obscured, and 
the moon was at the full. But though she has 
suffered many an eclipse, yet like the moon 
the Church of Christ emerges from them all by 
keeping on her path of obedience : — 
" And still that light upon the world 
Its guiding splendour throws ; 
Bright in the opening hours of life. 
But brighter at its close." — Pcahody. 

Tides! Ver. 16. The influences of the 
Holy Spirit upon the life of the Christian 
Church has been likened to that of the moon 
upon our earth. The return of the tide twice 
every day is owing to the attractive influence 
which the moou exerts upon our world, and 
especially upon its great movable fluid the 
ocean. What a mysterious page of nature does 
this fact open, when we thus behold, ourselves 
linked as it were with a distant world by an 
invisible chain figure that wonderful power by 
which the life of the Church and her true 
members is kept motion, purity and holiness/ 
Well may that moon be called the "Queen of 
Heaven" — 

" Who, from her maiden face 
Shedding her cloudy locks, looks meekly forth , 



And with lier virgin stars walks in the heavens, 
Walks nightly there, conversing as she walks 
Of purity, and holiness, and God." — Pollok. 

Starlight. Ver. 16. Those bright and 
beautiful stars are witnesses for God. They tell 
us that He is — that He is very great and good. 
This was tlie impression upon the mind of a man 
of Grod in the olden time, when he sang how 
the heavens proclaim the glory of God. Not 
many years ago, during the terrible French 
Revolution, when godless men murdered their 
king and princes in France, an attempt was made 
to obliterate all trace of God. Bibles were 
burnt, chm-ches were shut up, sabbatlis were 
abolished, and Christians were cruelly slain. 
One of these revolutionists accosted a pious 
countryman with the jaunty assurance that he 
was going to pull down the " %'illage chm-ch" 
in order that there "might be nothing left to re- 
mind you of God or religion." To this the pious 
peasant responded, " Then you will have to 
blot out the stars, which are older than our 
church tower, much higher up in the sky — 
beyond your reach." Yes, it is not the un- 
wearied sun only which displays the Creator's 
power, it is not the man only which publishes 
to every land the work of an Almighty hand ; 
but— 

" All the stars that round her buni, 
And all the planets in theu' turn, 
Confirm the tidings as they roll. 
And .sjiread the truth from pole to pole" 
— Addison. 

Sunlight! Ver. 17. There is a good 
•story told about a certain missionary and the 
sun. He was talking one day with a heathen 
man, who .said : — " I go to the place where 
you worship, but I never see yom- God." The 
missiouaiy, stepping out of the house into the 
open air, bathed in the brilliant beauty of the 
noontide sun, pointed up to it, and said to the 
enquirer, " Look at yonder sun." The man 
tried to look but instantly turned away his 
face, and covered his eyes with his hands, ex- 
claiming, " It blinds me." And the man of 
God quickly responded by telling him that yori 
sun was but one of the numerous retinue of his 
God, and stationed merely on the outside of 
God's palace. " If you cannot bear to look at 
one of His servants, how can yoii expect to 
see the master of that servant — the great God 
who made him." 

" God spake, and on the new-dressed earth 
Soft smiled the glowing sun, 
Then full of joy he sprung aloft. 
His heavenly course to run." — 

Krumacher. 

Sun-Rule ! Ver. 18. The aim is like the 
father of a family with his children gathered 
round him. A good father always governs his 
children well ; and the better they are governed, 
the happier and more useful they will be. The 
sun is such a father — governing well those dif- 
ferent worlds which are like children about 

35 



nOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS, 



him. He keeps them all in the places which 
(rod wants them to be in, and at the same time 
he sees that they are all going round— each in 
his o\vn path, just as God wants them to do. 
This power he enjoys from God. Through 
Him 

" His beams the sea-girt earth array, 
King of the sky, and father of the day." 

— Logan. 

Sun-Q-ood! Ver. 18. The sun is the foun- 
tain of light to this lower world. Day by day 
it rises on lis with its gladdening beams. All 
nature seems to own its influence, both for light, 
heat, faithfulness, and beauty. Christ is, says 
Trower, to the moral world, what the sun is 
to the natui'al world — the som-ce of life and 
loveliness, health and happiness. He rises 
with healing in His wings— scatters the mists 
of ignorance and sin — calls forth the fruits of 
righteousness — and arrays them in splend(jur, 
outrivalling the brilliant beams of the rainbow. 
And as the natural sun retains his strength un- 
dimmed though ages have rolled past, so the 
Divine Sun remains at His sacred, liigh, 
eternal noon, And 

" As the sun 
Doth spread his radiance through the fields of 

air, 
And kindle in revolving stars his blaze. 
He pours upon their hearts the splendour of 

His ra,ys."—U2jham. 

Moonlig-ht! Ver. IS. All the beauty of 
the moon is but the reflection of the glory of 
the sun. She has no light of her own, and 
shines only by reflecting or giving away tlie 
light which she receives from the dazzling orb 
of day. When a piece of looking-glass is held 
in the sunshine, it causes a bright light to 
dance about on the opposite wall. This is 
exactly what the moon does ; she catches the 
beams of light wliich it receives from the sun, 
and throws them down. The moon hangs in 
the sky, and becomes as much like the sun as 
it can by reflecting the liglit which that orb 
gives it ; just so when we become Christians, 
we not only learn to love Jesus, but try to be 
like Him. And when we do this we are re- 
flecting the light that Jesus gives us ; just as 
the moon, the queen of the midnight hour, and 
for ever beautiful, softly and silently pours 

" Her chasten'd radiance on the scene below ; 
And hill, and dale, and tower 
Drink the pure flood of light." — Neelc. 

Two Suns! Ver. 19. There is this dif- 
ference between the Sun of Righteousness and 
that in the sky — that, whereas the latter l)y his 
presence eclijjses all his satellite-attendants, the 
Former, though radiant with a much brighter 
splendour, will hi/ His presence impart glory to 
His saints. When Christ, who is our Life, 
shall appear, then shall we also apj^ear with 
Him in glory. So that the saints are not like 
stars which the sunshine obscures and makes 
to disappear ; but they are, as Boyle defines it, 
like ix)lished silver, or those vaster balls of 
36 



bm-nished brass upon the cathedral dome which 
shine the more they are shone upon, and which 
derive their glittering brightness from the sun's 
I'efulgent Ijeams 

" Made hereby apter to receive 
Perfection from the Sun's most potent ray." 

Animal Life ! Ver. 20. There is a mean- 
ing in these words which is seldom noticed : 
f(jr innumerable millir)us of animalcidse are 
found in water. Eminent naturalists have dis- 
covered no less than 30,000 in a single drop. 
How inconceivably small, remarks Professor 
Green, must each be ; and yet each a perfect 
animal — furnished with the whole apparatus of 
bones, muscles, nerves, lungs, etc. What a 
proof is this of the manifold wisdom of God! 
If we pluck a flower from the garden on which 
rests the glistening dewdrop ; if we sink oiu- 
finger in a j'ond, and then examine with a 
microscope, we shall find worlds living and 
moving in its drops ; if we sail on the ocean at 
midnight, our vessel may be enveloped in a 
flame of bright i^hosphorescent light, and gleam- 
ing with a greenish lustre — attributable to the 
presence of innumerable multitudes of animals 
floating on the waves :— 

" Flash'd the dipt oars, and, sparkling with the 
stroke. 
Around the waves phosjihoric l^rightness 
broke." — Byron. 

Mr. Charles Darwin paints in vivid colours the 
magnificent spectacle presented by the sea, 
while sailing in the latitudes of Cape Horn on 
a dark night. It is now no longer a matter of 
doubt that many of the inferior marine animals 
possess the faculty of secreting a luminous 
matter. And when we consider their countless 
numbers, we need not wonder at the magnifi- 
cent effects produced by such tiny creatures, 
whose 

" Vivid light 
To the dark billows of the night, 
A blooming splendour give." — Scott. 

Birds! Ver. 21. A little bird alighted at 
sunset on the bough of a pear tree that grew 
in Luther's garden. Luther looked upon it, 
and said, " That little bird covers its head with 
its wings, and will sleep there, so still and fear- 
less, though over it are the infinite starry 
spaces, and the great blue depths of immensity ; 
yet it fears not ; it is at home : the God that 
made it, too, is there." 

" There sitteth a dove so white and fair, 
All on the lily spray. 
And she listeneth when to our Saviour dear 
The little children pray." — Bremer. 

Creatures of God! Ver. 24. One day a 
boy was tormenting a kitten, whereupon his 
little sister^ with her eyes suffused in tears — 
exclaimed, " Oh ! do not hurt what is GoiVs 
kitten." That word of the little girl was not 
lost ; for a word fitly spoken — i.e., a word set 
on wheels — how good it is. The boy ceased to 
torment God's creature, but he could not leave 



no MI LET 10 COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CUAP. I. 



off thinking about what his sister had said. 
The next day, on his way to school, he met one 
of his conifianions most mischievously beatiu;,' 
a poor, half -starved dog : " Don't do that to 
God's creature." The boy looked ashamed, 
and tried to excuse himself by saying that the 
dog had stolen his dinner. But a poor drunkard 
passing heard the expression, and said within 
himself, "I, too, am God's creature ; I will 
arise, and go to my Father." All are then 
God's creatures ! 

" Here on the hills He feeds His hei"ds, 
His flocks on yonder plains ; 
His praise is warbled by the birds ; 
Oil ! could we catch their strains." 

— Montrjoinenj. 



All ThingsJ Ver. 25. Some men have 
tlie 1)0 wer of attending to several things at 
once. Napoleon the Great had the power of 
keeping six men engaged in writing letters for 
him at the same time, and this was thought a 
^vonderful feat. It was remarkable, and very 
few men could do it ; but it was nothing to 
what God does every day. Great and mar- 
vellous are Thy works. Lord God Almighty. 
He keeps all things in life : 

" Lord, thou art great ! In Nature's every 

form ; 

Greater in none, simply most great in all ; 

In fears and terrors, sunshine, smile and 

storm. 

And -all that stirs the heart, is felt Thy 



Man! Ver. 2.5. There is a beautiful 
propriety in the Bible commencing with the 
creation of the heavens and the earth. The 
account of this magnificent scene serves as a 
portico to the august Temple of Truth. It is 
a kind of outer court, and the wonders which 
we here behold prepare us for the glories 
which beautify the inner temple. But in the 
hands of Moses this theme, mighty as it is, is 
only the introduction to others still mightier. 
He does not detain us in the outer court, but 
leads us straight to the gates of the Temple. 
By the Divine Word the world passed through 
all its various stages in its progress from chaos 
to the wondrous scene of order and beauty, 
when, in v. 25, God saw that it was good. 
"How in the household," ^\Tites Beecher, 
" are garments quilted and wrought, and 
curiously embroidered, and the softest things 
laid aside, and the cradle prepared to greet 
the little pilgrim of love when it comes from 
distant regions, we know not whence ! Crea- 
tion was God's cradle for Adam — curiously 
carved and decorated, flower-strewn and star- 
curtained." As Milton says : " There wanted 
yet the master-work, the end of all yet done : 
so God took 

" Some handfuls of the dust, and moulded it 
Within His plastic hands until it grew 
Into an image like His o^val, like ours, 



Of perfect symmetry, divinely fair. 

But lifeless, till He stoop'd and lireathed 

therein 
The breath of life." 



Temple-Man ! Ver. 26. It has been care- 
fully noted that our Lord was the first who 
applied to the human body a term previously 
employed to denote a building consecrated t(j 
God. His example was followed l)y St. Paul, 
with whom the expression was a familiar and 
favourite one. And yet, strange to say, this 
symbolism fell into abeyance during all the 
Christian centm-ies. The body was treated 
with neglect or contempt. It was regarded as 
the drag and prison house of the soid ; so that 
even Trench writes : — 

" Plumage which man shatters in his rage, 
And with his prison doth vain war engage. 

We represent it as the cause of all the moral 
failures and intellectual weaknesses of mankind. 
By the ascetic it has been mortified and 
tortured in every way. By the philosopher it 
has been ignored, so that Sir William Hamilton 
inscribed in golden letters upon the wall of his 
class-room the singular sentiment : " In man 
there's nothing great but mind." It is true 
that man's body was formed out of the dust, 
and that thus it is the same as the forms of the 
mineral, vegetaljle, and animal creations. As 
Oken says, the whole animal world is repeated 
and represented in man, the animal kingdom 
is man broken up into fi'agments. But human 
nature is not, therefore, to be despised ; for 
though the lumian body takes all natvire into 
it, it does so to make it a temple for the 
worship and service of God. And that God 
designed such a view of the htmian frame is 
evident from the fact of the incarnation. Jesus 
entered the human body and purified it of his 
indwelling, making it a palace for the divine 
glory and a shrine for the divine worshij). 



Man's Spirit! Ver. 27. As a missionary 
in India was catechizing the children of his 
school, a Brahmin interrupted him by saying 
that the spirit of man and the spirit of God 
were one. In order to show him the abstu-dity 
of such a declaration, the missionary called 
upon the boys to refute it by stating the differ- 
ence between the spirit of man and God. 
They readily, so Arvine says, gave the follow- 
ing answers : — The spirit of man is created ; 
God is its creator. The spu-it of man is full 
of sin ; God is a pure spirit. The spirit of man 
is subject to grief ; God is incapable of suffer- 
ing. Therefore, they can never be one. And 
yet the spu-it of the one dwells in the spirit 
of the other. This is a great mystery :— 

" And when the dread enigma presseth sore. 
Thy patient voice saith : ' Watch with me 
one hour ; ' 
As sinks the moaning river in the sea, 

In silver peace, so sinks my soul in Thee." 

//out. 

37 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Man ! Ver. 27. As the ancients kept their 
temples pure and undefiled, so ive should pre- 
serve our "bodies" free from all lanholy words 
and actions. In some of the heathen temples, 
the Vestals cherished a flame on their altar 
perpetually. So should we maintain tlie flame 
(if truth on the altars of our hearts. Within 
their temi)le walls were their helpless deities, 
and there thronged the myriads of votaries to 
pay homage and worship. We should worship 
the Father, and cultivate the companionship 
of the Holy Ghost in our bodies. 

Apex! Ver. 29. As Agassiz points out, it 
is evident that there is a manifest progress in 
the succession of being'^s on the surface of the 
earth. This progress consists in an increasing 
similarity to the living fauna, and among the 
vertebrates, especially in their increasing re- 
semblance to man. But this connection is 
not the consequence of a direct lineage between 
tlie fauna of different ages. The link Ijy which 
creation is connected is of a high and imma- 
terial nature ; and their connection is to be 
sought in the view of the Creator Himself, 
whose aim in foiming the earth was to intro- 
duce man upon the surface of our globe. 
Man is the end towards which all the animal 
creation has tended from the first appearance 
of the first Paheozoic fishes. When all was 
complete — 

" A creature of a more exalted kind 
Was wanting yet, and then was man designed ; 
Conscious of thought, of more capacious breast, 
For emphe formed, and fit to rule the rest." 

Orid. 

Divine Gifts! Ver. 29. As the artist 
delights in exercising his talent in depicting 
the landscape — as the poet finds pleasure in 
creating, out of human experiences and the 
bright scenes of nature, a new world of beaiity 
and passion, so God — the Great Artist and 
Poet — delights in the scenes and objects of 
nature, in the formation of which He has 
exercised His Divine skill and power ; and 
to this Divine feeling the Son of God gave 
frequent expression. He revealed to us His 
own most perfect imderstanding and enjoy- 
ment of the beauty of nature — how God re- 
garded the creation which He had pronoimced 
to be very good. But they were foimed for 
man's special enjoyment. The great whole 
world — to use the figm-e of an eminent wi-iter 
— is decked with beauty for man's pleasure. 
Beautiful is the lily-work that forms the 
capitals of its stony and massive pillars ; rich 
is the flowerage that adorns its barge-laden 
streams, which bear up and along the works 
of life. Everything that is useful to man has 
some bright and beautifvil thing connected 
with it, which, like the settling of a brilliant 
butterfly upon the open page of a dreary tome, 
or the falling of a rosy gleam upon some 
homely task, seems to speak of the fact that 
this verse is true — 

" Our cup runneth over, our life is so liright. 
So brimming with mercy and love, 

38 



It seems just a springtime of sunshine and 
light. 
Blest foretastes of better above," 

God! Ver. 31. His works proclaim His 
being, power, wisdom, goodness. Some years 
ago there was a German prince, a good chris- 
tian man, who lived in a fine old castle on the 
banks of the Rhine. He had a son, who was 
beloved by all aroimd for his princely virtues ; 
and on one occasion, while he was absent from 
home, a French gentleman became the noble- 
man's giiest. This 'S'isitor did not believe in 
God, and never thought of trusting to Him 
for anything. One day, when the baron and 
his friend were conversing, he said something 
which grieved the baron very nuich, and led 
him to exclaim: "Ai-e j^ou not afraid to 
offend God by speaking in such a way ?' ' But 
the Frenchman replied that he had never seen 
God, knew nothiiig of Him, cared nothing for 
Him. His host remained silent, and resolved 
to seize the first ojiportunity afforded him of 
shewing to his guest the fallacy of his reason- 
ing. So the next morning he conducted the 
doTibter around his castle and grounds to see 
many beauties. Amongst other things he 
showed him some very beautiful pictures, 
which the visitor admired, and of which the 
prince said : " These are my sou's." The 
garden had been chastely and magnificently 
laid out by his son. The cottages in the 
village, all neatly and substantially built, had 
been designed by his «on. When the gentle- 
man had seen all, he exclaimed : " What a 
happy man you must be to have such a son ;" 
but the prince abruptly enquu-ed how he knew 
that he had so good a son ? "By his works," 
was the response. " But you have not seen 
him." " No ; but I know him very well, be- 
cause I judge of him by his works." God's 
works teach us : 

" And every wild and hidden dell, 

Where human footsteps never trod, 
Is wafting songs of joy which tell 
The praises of their Maker — God ! 

Creation Good! Ver. 31. Did that good- 
ness which Jehovah saw evidence itself in the 
joy of universal adoration ? For after all, is 
there not joy in every aspect of Nature ? 
Could Adam not see it ; could Jehovah him- 
self not see this joy of goodness in the purity 
of virgin morning, in the sombre grey of a day 
of clouds, in the solemn pomp and majesty of 
night ? Was it not visible in the chaste lines 
of the crystal, the waving outlines of distant 
hills, the minute petals of the fringed daisy, 
or the overhanging form of Eden's mysterious 
glades ? Could Jehovah not say in even 
deeper grandeur, sense, and force, than Adam, 

" What throbbings of deep joy 
Pulsate through all I see ; from the full bud 
Wliose unctuous sheath is glittering in the 

moon, 
Up through the system of created things. 
Even to the flaming ranks of seraphim." 

Alford. 



tiOMJLETW COMMENTARY: GENESIS. c«ap. J. 



CHAPTER II. 

Critical Notes. — S. Rested] " Kept sabbath," it. " observed a sacred, festive quiet." A 
good worker does his work well, aud leaves oil when he has doae. The very crown of his 
work is the pleasure he takes in it when complete. Such is God's rest ; aud heuce He gra- 
ciously seeks for intelligent companionship therein : Heb. iii.-iv. S. Created and made] "Made 
creativel}', I.e., parh. by making it anew out of chaos " (Dav.). 4. Generations] Heb. " births "= 
"birth -facts," "birth-stages "="genesis :" Sept., "This is the book of the genesis," &c. Lord God] 
Heb, Jehovah Elohim. The correct pi-onxuiciation of J. is prob. Yahweh ; formed of the 3 
sing. mas. imperf. Hiphil, of huwah, "to be," or rather "to become," "to come to pass;" and 
therefore meaning, "He causes to become," "He brings to pass;" "The Fulfiller." This ex- 
planation (1.) altogether removes the difficulty from Ex. vi., since God Avas known to Ab., Is., 
and Ja. rather as Projiiser than as Fulfiller ; (2.) puts a most pertinent force into the name 
as Israel's encouragement to leave Eg. for Canaan, Ex. iii. ; (3.) invests innumerable passages 
with a most striking beauty, c.ff., Ps. xxiii. 1, "J. — the Fulfiller— is my Shepherd : I shall not 
want ; " (4.) provides for the occasional application of the name to the Messiah, as in Is. xl. 10, 11, 
tf. John x., Is. vi. cf. John xii. 41 ; and (5.) by bringing out the gracious covenant power of this 
name, furnishes some clue to tlie reason {ov feeling) leading to its omission in some cases (as in ch. 
iii. 1-5, Job iii.-xxxvii., Ps. xix. 1-6, cxix. 15) and its insertion in others (Gen. ii. and fob. Job. i.-ii. 
xxxviii.-xlii. Ps. xix. 7-14). To dwell for a moment on the opening of Gen., how natural that in 
the first sec. (i. 1 — ii. 3) the name Elohim should suffice, but that when man is to stand out in 
his moral relation to his Creator, in sec. second (ii. 4, etc.), Jehovah Elohim should be employed. 
And siu'cly it sije.aks a volume that neither the serpent, nor the woman under the shadow of 
entertained temptation, should care to utter a name so replete with grace and love. The name 
J. occurs about 7,500 times in O. T. 7. Bi'eath] Heb. nctskamah, neArly =ruach, spirit (cf. Eccl. 
xii. 7), occurs only in ch. vii. 22, Dent. xx. 16, Jos. x. 40, xi. 11, 14, 2 Sam. xxii. 16, 1 Ki. xv. 
29, xvii. 17, Job iv. 9, xxvi. 4, xxvii. 3, xxxii. 8, xxxiii. 4, xxxiv. 14, xxxvii. 10, Ps. xviii. 15, 
cl 6, Is. ii. 22, XXX. 33, xlii. 5, Ivii. 16, Dan. x. 17. The study of these will richly repay. Life] 
Heb. chayybn, prop. " lives," or still better, " living ones," hence, by abstraction " the con- 
dition peculiar to living ones" = "life." Cf. on Elohim ch. i. 1. Tlie use of the Heb. pi. as 
an abstract has received too little notice (Ges. Gr. § 108, 2. a. ; Ewald, Gr. § 179). Living: 
Soul] That is, soul became the characteristic of his being. Hence he is denominated from that 
wh. is prominent in him ; as the glorified Christ is called "a life-giving spirit " (1 Cor. xv. 45), 
without making him all spirit or destroying the distinction between body and spirit. Soul 
lives, spirit makes alive : this is the teaching of Scripture. Our present body is a jisychical 
body, our future b. will be a pneumatical b. Little by little we may hope to build up a "biblical 
]isychology ;" i.e., if we are willing both to learn aud to unlearn just as truth may demand. 
Cf. C'. N. on ch. i. 20. 14. East of Assja-ia] So Ges. and Dav. Lit., "before A." wh. to a 
writer in Pal. is = west (Flirst). 17. Surely die] Heb. "die, die shalt thovi ; " as in ver. 16 
"eat, eat shalt thou," iii. 16, "increase, increase will I :"^"a frequent and quite peculiar idiom 
for the indication of emphasis " (Ewald). Dying thou shalt die " is misleading, has in fact 
misled many into groundless subtleties. 18. Help meet] Prol). "according to his front" (Dav.) 
or " corresponding to him" (Ges., Fiirst, Dav.). 19. To see what He would call them] Or : 
" that he [Adam] might see what he should call them." Either rendering is valid. 21. Deep 
sleep] Sept. extasis = " trance." 23. This] An exclamation of joyful satisfaction. Prob. no 
Eng. trans, can give out the striking threefold repetition of the feminine pronoun zoth : " This 
(fem.) — NOW — is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh : this (fem.) shall be called Wom.in ; 
because out of Man was she taken — this (fem.)" Woman] Heb. ,ishah, fem. of ^ish. Man] Heb. 
Hsh : perh. a prim, word (Ges. Dav.) ; but more probably = strong (Fiirst, Dav.) : — to be dis- 
tinguislied from ,adham (" Adam," "man") as Lat. rir from homo, and Gr. antr from anthropos. 
This distinction, with the idioms growing out of it, will be found worth constant attention. 

MAIN IIOMILETIL'S OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Yems 1—3. 

The 1)ivine Sabbath. 

The Divine Artificer with intelligence and delight completes his work. In 
the calm majesty of His repose He contemplates it. What a scene must have 
spread before his eye ! The created minds who could comprehend but a part, 
would be overwhelmed at the splendour, variety, and order. How perfect must 
it have shone forth before the Divine eye that saw all arrangements, and knew 
the relations of the universe ! As none but He could paint such a picture, so 
He must have been alone in his delight. This was God's Sabbath. See in it : — 

I. The Divine completion of His creative work. " The heavens and the 
earth were finished and all the host of them." The Bible teaches that creation 

r.'J 



110 Ml LET IC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



ended mth the sixth day's work. As it was itself a series of separate, distinct 
acts, so in itself the series was complete. According to this cosmogony there 
were no further creations. Individuals may be horn and die. According to the 
laws impressed upon the vegetable and the animal worlds there may be the 
development of the individual from the parent, but it will be after the parent's 
kind. Races and species may die, become extinct ; but, if so, they go to a grave 
whence there is no resurrection. Whatever may be the truth underlying the 
words of the ancient record, it certainly is not development of species, either by n atural 
or any other selection. Science and Bible are not opposed, but the peculiar ftu'm 
of the present day's theory is not that of the Scriptures. This fact is in harmony 
with : — 1. The disclosures of science in its history of the earth's crust. The 
evidence, as yet, is beyond comparison in favour of no resurrection of an extinct 
species, nor post-Adamic creation of a new species. 2. The histortj of the world 
as the record of moral and religious special acts on the part of God. Human 
history is not that of a physical world. Events since the creation have ethical 
meaning. The theatre for the great drama of human life was completed in 
creation. Since that God's action has been the working out of the successive 
scenes. 3. The brief references in the other sacred u-ritings to the p>hysical activiti/ 
of the Creator. He is not represented as creative, but as destroying, and 
purifying by fire. Thus we find corroborative evidence that Divine interference 
in the physical world is not in the form of creation. 

II. The Divine contemplation of His creative work. At the close of His 
work all things pass before the eye of God. Everything was now complete. 
Everything was in subordination. Everything was ready for the higher and 
more glorious exercise of the divine activity in providence and grace. All was 
prepared for the kingdom of probation, by which the last created of the world 
was to be tried, disciplined, and perfected. We may learn here : — 1. Evil has 
no natural place in the universe. 2. Matter is not necessarily hostile to God. 
The Bible, in this picture of Divine contemplation, cuts away the ground from 
certain forms of false religion and philosophy. Divine life is not the destruction 
of matter, nor the rising out of the region of the sensuous ; but so restoring the 
harmony, that God may again look upon the world, and say it is " very good." 
;». The present condition of things, so changed from that which God first looked 
upon, must be the result of some catastrophe. 

III. The Divine Rest after His Creative Work. The rest began when the 
work was done. The contemplation was a part of the Sabbatic blessedness. 
The Sabbath : 1. It was a season of rest. It does not imply that there was 
weariness, but cessation from creative activit,y. 2. The rest was blessed by God. 
As He saw His work good, so He saw His rest good. 3. Thei'e was an appoint- 
me7it of d similar blessed rest for His creatures. "He sanctified the seventh 
day." It is not for us to discuss the relations of God to labour and repose. 
The fact may be beyond our comprehension. It has lessons for us : — 1. T'here 
is a place and time for rest. 2. The condition on which rest may be claimed is 
that men work. 3. This rest should be happy. Much of the modern idea of a 
Sabbath is not that which God would say was blessed. The Sabbath is not a 
time of gloom. 4. This rest should be religious. 5. This rest is unlimited to 
any particular p)ortion of the race. (Ilomilist.) 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verses l—o. The Sabbath :—l. A The Sabbath : — 1. Its antiquity. 
day of rest. 2. A day for contempla- 2. Its utility. 3. Its prophecy, 
tion. 3. A day of peculiar sanctity. The finished Creation : — 1. Should 
4. A day Divinely set apart for the attract our attention. 2. Should ex- 
moral good of man. cite our admiration. 3. Should evoke 
40 



llOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



our praise. 4. Should lead us to 
God. 

The "host" of them : — 1. As an army 
Creation is large. 2. It is orderly. 
o It is independent. 4. It is trium- 
phant. 0. It is well commanded. 
6. Let no man be found in conflict 
■with its laws. 

Were finished : — 1. The w(n-k of 
God is progressive. 2. Concentrated. 
3. Productive of result. 4. Completive. 
5. Learn to finish the good works wc 
commence, to bring them' to perfec- 
tion. 

The Sabbath: — 1. Just in its com- 
mand. 2. Beneficial in its results. 
3. Imperative in its delegation. 

Though God ceased from His worlcs 
of creation, He ceaseth not from His 
work of Providence. 

The worship of God ought to be 
man's first care. 

God desires His Sabbath to be sanc- 
tified : — 1. By secret communion. 2. 



By study of the Scriptures. 3. By pub- 
lic worship. 

The law of the Sabbath : — 1. Bene- 
ficial. 2. Universal. 3. Perpetual. 

Pest :— 1. Not indolence. 2. Not 
culpable. 3. It sho\dd be contempla- 
tive. 4. It should be sacred. 5. It is 
Divinely warranted. 

Aljsolute and perfect is the frame of 
heaven and earth, as it cometh OTit of 
the hand of God. 

Jehovah hath His hosts in heaven 
and earth, many and mighty. 

God's hosts should keep order in 
ever)^ part, and be subject to their Lord. 

The seventh day bringeth God's per- 
fect work to the well-being of creation. 

The seventh day is God's creature. 

God rested from creation of IdndSj 
not from propagation and providence. 

Reasons for the Sabbath : — 1. God's 
rest. 2. God's blessing. 3. God's 
contemplation. 4. God's sanctifica- 
tion. 



MAIN nOMlLEflCS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 4—7. 

The World Without a Man. 

The text suggests three thoughts :— I. The world's independency of man, The terraqueous 
globe, embosomed in those wonderful heavens, and filled with every species of vegetable and 
animal life, existed before man appeared. 1. The icorld can do icithoiH him. The heavenswould 
he as bright, the earth as beautiful, the waves of the ocean as sublime, the song of the birds as 
sweet ; were man no more. 2. lie cannot do leithout the v:orkl. He needs its bright skies, and 
flowing rivers, and productive soil, &c. He is the most dependent of all creatures. The text 
suggests : — II. The world's incompleteness without man. Without man the world would be a 
school without a pupil, a theatre without a spectator, a mansion without a resident, a temple 
without a worshipper. Learn from this subject :— 1. The lexicon of adorinrj gratitude to the Creator. 
Adore Him for the fact, the capabilities, and the sphere of your existence.^ 2. The lesson of profomul 
knniiUty. The world can do without thee, my brother ; has done without tliee ; and will do 
without thee. The text suggests :— III. The world's claims upon man. '• The earth He hath 
given to the children of men." The nature of this gift proclaims the obligation of the receiver. 
1. The world is filled leiih material treasures; derelop and use them. 2. The world is fertile with 
moral lessons ; interpret and a pphj them. 3. The world is filled with the presence of God; ictilk 
revercnthj [Ilomilist]. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verses 4 — 6. Not onlj- the mercies 
of God in general, but each particular 
gift must be recognized as from Him. 
There can be no rain on the earth 
unless God send it. It is by rain from 
Heaven that all the herbs and plants 
grow and are nourished. 

Though God be pleas^ed to make use 
of man's labour in producing the fruits 
of the earth ; yet He can increase and 



preserve them without it. This should 
make man : — L Thankful, as it gives 
him employment. 2. Humble, as it 
gives him to feel his dependence. 
3. Hopeful, as fruit will reward his 
diligence. 

The labour of man : — 1. Should be 
obedient to God's command. 2. De- 
pendent upon God's blessing. 3. Pro- 
ductive of general good. 

41 



CHAP. I. 



IIOMILETIQ COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



God has a variety of means to 
accomplish His will : — 1. The rain. 
2. The mist. 3. He is rich in re- 
sources. 

The world without a man : — 1. To 
admire its beauty. 2. To praise its 
Creator. 3. To cultivate its produce. 
4. To complete its design. 

God can preserve His creatures witli- 
out ordinary means. 

Verse 7. The Humility and Dig- 
i^iTY OF Man. 

" And the Lord God formed man of 
the dust of the ground." I. Then man 
ought not to indulge a spirit of pride. 
Man's body was formed out of the dust 
of the earth. A remembrance of this 
fact ought to inspire a feeling of genuine 
humility within the heart of the race. 
It should keep men from pride in 
reference to their renowned ancestry, 
their apparel, or their wealth. 

" And the Lord God formed man of 
the dust of the ground." II. Then man 
ought not to indulge a spirit of hos- 
tility to God. 1. Because they are the 
tvorhmanship of Jlis hands. God has 
made us ; we are His workmanship. 
Shall we then contend with our ]\Iaker, 
the finite vv'ith the Infinite ? Piather 
it will be our Avisdom to cultivate a 
loving, prayerful spirit, than to provoke 
Him by impenitence and sin. We are 
of the dust of the earth, and are there- 
fore unequal to contend with that Being 
who has all the armies of heaven at His 
command. 

"And the Lord God formed^ man of 
the dust of the ground." III. Then 
man should remember His mortality. 
As man was takeii from the dust, so 
certainly will he return to it before 
long. Dust thou art and unto dust 
shalt thou return, will be spoken at 
the grave of the world. Our bodies 
are daily sinking into their original 
elements. Teach me the measure of 
my days, that I may know how frail I 
am. This should be our constant 
prayer. Here, then, we liave presented 
one aspect of the being of man ; take 
another : — 

" And breathed into his nostrils the 
42 



breath of life; and man became a living 
soul." I. Then man is something more 
than physical organization. Man is 
not merely dust, not merely body ; he 
is also a living soul. His bodily organ- 
ization is not the seat of thought, emo- 
tion, volition, and immortality ; these 
are evoked by the inspiration of the 
Almighty. From this text we learn that 
the soul of man was not generated 
with, but that it was subsequently in- 
breathed by God into, his body. \Ve 
cannot admit the teaching of some, 
that the soul of man is a part of God ; 
this is little better than blasphemy. It 
is only a Divine gift. The gift is 
priceless. It is responsible. 

" And breathed into his nostrils the 
breath of life; and man became a living 
soul." II. Then man should cultivate 
a moral character, pursue employ- 
ments, and anticipate a destiny com- 
mensurate with this Divine inspiration, 
Men gifted with immortal souls should 
endeavour to bring them into harmony 
with their Author and Giver, to make 
them pure as He is pure, and benevolent 
as He is benevolent ; they should 
never be degraded b)^ sin. Our souls 
ought to live in communion with 
God. They ought to be employed in 
the grandest pursuits of the universe. 
They ought to anticipate a heavenly 
destiny, where their poAvers will be 
unfettered, their happiness complete, 
and their devotion eternal. 

However base the matter of man's 
body, God hath formed it into an excel- 
lent piece of work : — I. Let us praise 
God for our bodies. 2. Let us use 
them to His glory. 3. Let us not 
defile them by sin. 4. Let us await 
their transformation. 

Tlie soul of man, by which he lives, 
comes immediately from God. 1. A 
gift Divine. 2. Valual)le. 3. Respon- 
sible. 

The life of man consisting in the 
union of the soul with the body hath 
but a weak foundation. 

Life : — 1. Rich in its source. 2. 
Weak in its channel. 3. Eminent in 
its degree. Noble in its capabilities. 
5. Inynortal in its continuance. 



JIOMILETW COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



31 A IN IIOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses ^—11. 

TiiE Garden of Eden. 

There has been much specuhition as to the situation of the Garden of Eden ; but 
in vain, it is utterly impossible to 9.scertain its site. All vestage of it was probabl)^ 
swept away by the deluge. This, however, is of little moment, in comparison with 
tlie higlier and more solemn moral truths with which this garden stands connected, 
lu tliese the world is interested, in them it finds its most difficult problems, and 
tlic only explanation of its present condition. I. In this garden provision was 
made for the happiness of man. This is evident from the description of the 
garden found in these verses. 1 . The garden was heautlfid. There was planted 
in it " every tree that is pleasant to the sight." Beautiful scenery does much 
to enhance the comfort and enjoyment of man : in order to gaze upon it men 
will travel to the ends of tlio earth. By all that was lovely and inspiring in 
material nature, Adam was daily surrounded. 2. The garden was fruitful. 
" And good for food." Hence with the beautiful in nature, there Avas blended 
all that would be needful to supply the temporal recpiirements of man. Tlie 
material beauty by which he was surrounded v,'as only indicative of the plenty 
that everywhere presented itself for his service. 3. The garden ivas well 
watered, " and a river went out of Eden to water the garden ; and from thence 
it was parted, and became into four heads." Thus we cannot wonder at the 
beauty and fertility of this garden. The teaching of this garden is, that God 
intended man to enjoy a happi/ life. He did not design that man should be 
shut up in a cloister, but that he should wander amid the beautiful scenes of 
nature ; He did not design that man should lead a melancholy and sad life, but 
that he should be juljilant, and that his joy should be inspired by all that was 
l)eautiful and morally good. In this happy picture of primeval life we have 
God's ideal of life, a pattern for our own. II. In this garden provision was 
made for the daily occupation of man. " And the Lord God took the man, 
and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." 1. Work is 
the law of mans being. Work is a divine ordination. God put Adam to it. 
He was the first Employer of labour. Man's ideal of life is to have nothing to 
do, to be " independent" as it is called. Work is compatible with the most 
ideal existence. It is a token of dignity ; a willingness to perform it, is a 
vestige of the former splendour of our being. People tell us that work is the 
result of the fall. This is not true. Man worked before he fell, but free from 
fatigue or pain. The element of pain which has been infused into work, that is 
the result of the fall. Man must work. He is prompted to it by natural 
instincts. He is cheered in it by happy results. He is rewarded after it by an 
approving conscience. (1) Mans u:ork should be 2)''f«'tical. Adam was to dress 
the garden. It is man's work to develop, and make God's universe as pro- 
ductive as possible. Some men spend their lives in speculation ; it woidd be 
far better if they would employ them in digging. Aim to be practical in your 
toil. The world needs practical workers. The world is full of men who want 
to be great workers, and they would be, if they would only undertake little 
tasks. ("2) 3Ians work should be healthful. There is no employment more 
healthy than that of husbandr)^ It enables a man to get plenty of fresh air. 
It vdll make him stalwart. It would be much better for the health of the 
world if less men were engaged in offices, and more in the broad fields. 
(3) Mans work should be taken as Jrom God. " And the Lord God took the 
man, and put him into the garden of Eden." This will dignify work. It will 
inspire the worker. It will attain the full meaning of service. A man who 
lets God put him to his trade, is likely to be successful. 2. Work is the 
benediction of mans being. Work makes men happy. Indolence is misery. 

43 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



If all the artizans of our country were freed from their employment to-morrow, 
it would not increase their joy ; to Avhat would they turn their attention ? 
Work is the truest blessing we have. It occupies our time. It keeps from 
mischief. It su])plies our temporal wants. It enriches society. It wins the 
approval of God. III. In this garden provision was made for the spiritual 
obedience of man. 1. God r/ave man a command to ohcij. Adam was not 
entirely to do as he liked in this garden, one restriction was made known to him. 
He was to be none the less happy. He was to be none the less free. He was 
to be the more obedient to that Being who had so kindly ordered his cir- 
cumstances. Man is not to do as he likes in this world. God places him under 
moral restrictions, which are for his welfare, but which he has the ability to set 
aside. There are certain trees in the world, of whose fruit we are not to eat. 
But these restrictions are not irksome or unreasonable, they refer only to one 
tree in all the great garden of life. Let us attend to the regulation which the 
gospel puts upon our use of the creatures by which we are every day surrounded. 
2. God annexed a penalty in the case of disobedience. (1) The penaltij vas 
clearly made known. (2) It was certain in its infliction. (3) It ivas terrible 
in its result. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VEESES. 

The Two Paradises.— Gen. xxii. 8 ; Bev. ii. 2. 



Verse 8. I. Compare the Places. The second 
is superior to the first. 1. In respect to its 
elements. What was dust in the first j^aradise 
was gold in the second. 2. Of its extent. 
The first paradise was the corner of a small 
planet ; the second is a vmiverse of glory in 
which nations dwell, and whose limits angels 
know not. 3. Of its beauty. 

II. Compare the Inhabitants, of the two 
paradises. The inhabitants of the second are 
superior to those of the first. 1. In physical 
nature. 2. //) employment. The employment 
of heaven will relate to beings rather than to 
things. The sjihere of activity will be more 
amongst souls than flowers. Will call into 
exercise loftier faculties ; will tend more to 
the glory of God._ 3. In rani: 4. In free- 
dom. 5. In security. Adam was liable to 
temptation and evil. In the second paradise 
is immunity from peril. 6. In rision of God. 
In the first paradise God walked amid the 
trees of the garden. Adam realizes the over- 
shadowing Presence. The inhabitants of the 
second paradise shall enjoy that Presence more 
perfectly. (1.) Vision brighter. (2.) Constant. 
\_Pulpit Analyst.^ 

_ A garden: — 1. Its plantation. 2. Its 
situation. 3. Its occupation. 

Verse 9. As God gives us all things 
freely, so He takes special notice of all 
that He bestows upon us. 

Every plant grows ^vhere, and in 
what manner God appoints it. 

God's bounty abounds unto 
not only to the sup])ly of their 
but also for their delight. 

It is usual with God to mix delight 
44 



men, 
want. 



and pleasure with usefulness and profit 
in all his blessings. 

God's commandments ought to be 
full in view of Plis people. 

It is usual with God to teach His 
children by things of common use. 

Verses 10 — 15. God's blessings are 
in every way complete and perfect. 

Springs and rivers of waters are not 
amongst the least of God's blessings. 

Every son of Adam is bound to some 
employment : — 1. Necessary to mutual 
subsistence. 2. The creatures of the 
world are not serviceable without toil. 
3. To occupy time. 4. To employ our 
faculties. 

Our daily calling — 1. Undertaken 
by a Divine warrant. 2. Pursued with 
cheerfulness and fidelity. 3. Guided 
by God's word. 4. Seeking the good 
of the community. 5. Abiding there 
till God shall discbarge us. 

Duty and not gain should be the 
ground of our daily calling. 

Man's employment ought to be in 
those places where it is most needed. 

Very rich in earthly treasure was 
the habitation of innocency. 

Verses 16, 17. — Eden: or God's voice 
to man on entering his earthly sphere 
of life. 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. chap i. 



I. That man's earthly sphere of life is fur- II. That these vast and varied blessings are 

nished with vast and varied blessings. " Of to be used under certain Divine regulations, 

every tree." There are many trees of pleasure " But of the tree." 

fur man iu this life. 1. There is the sensational 1. His regulations are proper. 2. His rcgu- 

tree. Material nature \\'ith its million branches lations are liberal. 3. His regulations arc 

is a tree all thickly clustered with fruit. nxdful. 

2. There is the intellectual tree. Life is crowded .,.,_ ™, , .i. • i ,.• e ^r. t.- • 

.,, . 1 r c Tc 1 ;i- 4.1 III, That the violation of these Divine regu- 

with ideas, every form of hfe embodies them, , .. -,, . •, ,,„ .„ . . ,, „.P 

' , / ,, o rm ■ ,1 ■ I lations will eatau the utmost ruin. " Thou 

every event starts them. 3. 1 here is the social . ,, , t <■,-,, t ■, ,, , . . , 

tree. 4. There is the relii/ious tree. This gives ^^'-^^t surely die. io disob.y Cod is sm, and 

it beauty and worth to all. Wliat a rich t^ie wages of sin is death. Disobedience to 

garden is our earthly life. God will produce death.— [//ojTiiViif.] 

MAIN HO Ml LET I OS OF THE PAEAORA PH.— Verses 13—25. 

The Creation of Woman. 

I. Woman was brought to man in order that shs might relieve his solitude 
by intelligent companionship.—" And the Lord God said, It is not good that tiie 
mail sliould be alone." When we tlms state that man was lonely we do not mean 
to imply that the world in which he lived was a desolate waste, but simply that 
it was destitute of proper companionship for him. The beasts of the field were 
created, and were clivinely presented to Adam that he might recognize them, 
that he might name them, that they might awaken his intellectual energies, 
and that their departure might awaken within him the thought of loneliness. 
But the brutes are not companions for man, they cannot enter into the high 
enjoyments of his intellectual life, nor can they join him in his devotional 
moods. He is separated from them by a wide abyss ; he is their lord, they 
are unknowingly his servants. Then if man could not find a companion in the 
earth beneath, could he not in the heaven above ? Was not God his companion 
and friend. God was his frequent visitant, but nothing more. The finite mind 
of Adam could not have found the rest it needed in the infinite prolilem and 
presence of God. As in the case of the brutes, Adam was too much their 
superior to find in them companionship. So the Divine Being was too much 
superior to Adam for the terrestrial companionship he needed. In order to 
true and happy companionship there must be a fair e(iuality of intellectual 
power, of moral sympathy, and a real community of daily life, existing between 
the parties. Hence there was a deep necessity, in order to relieve the loneliness 
of Adam, that another human being should be created to keep him constant 
company. ]\Ian to-day can have no idea of the loneliness of Adam, as he 
fir.st stepped out into life. He was the first man. He stood in a great silence. 
There were none to whom he could express the deep feelin"- of his heart. 
Things are altered now. The world is crowded. Instead of solitude, there are 
crowds. Instead of silence, there is uproar. Instead of loneliness, there are 
far too many companionships inviting the truant attention of man. And this 
condition of the world is more adapted to the number and strength of man's 
mental capacities and moral energies. It is more likely to develop both. It 
is more conducive to his happiness. It may be likewise more conducive to 
temptation. Companionship may be a curse, as it often is a blessing. 

II. Woman was brought to man that she might be his helpmeet in the 
struggles of life. " I will make him a help-meet fin- him." Adam needed a 
help-meet : — 1. To develop his intellectual thinKincjs. When Adam was 
created he would liave but few ideas, which would be very crude, more 
characterized by wonder than by settled conviction. His mind would_ need 
development. Eve would encourage this development; instigated by curiosity, 
and by a desire to know the meaning of the things around, they would together 
pursue the study of the material universe. Thus their minds would expand, 



nOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



and with this expansion they would attain mental sympath}^, through being 
unitedly eni])lo3'ed in the same research. They would have common tiiemes of 
thought and conversation. Wives should aid and encourage tlie mental 
development of their husbands, together they should inquire into the mj'steries 
of the universe, and they would tind glad employment in so doing, healthful 
exercise as well as definite result. 2. To culture his moral stjnipat/iies. Adam 
was strong in manhood, and it is not often that strength combines pathos. Hence 
there was need that one of loving heart, and tender disposition should subdue by 
unspokoi influence tlie lord of creation, and by awakening within his soul feelings 
of gentleness, should strengthen the sceptre which OJod had put into his hand. 
The influence of woman should make men sympathetic, should give them a heart 
to feel the world's pain and enable them to manifest to those who need it, a patient 
love. 3. To aid kirn in the daily needs of life. Even in Eden man had certain 
physical wants, and though we never read of Eve as engaged in the very necessary 
pursuits of ordinary female life, yet no doubt they vv'ere not forgotten b)^ her. In 
harmony vt'ith the early times she no doubt provided for the daily wants of her hus- 
band. Wives show their true womanhood by so doing. A wife vfho will neglect 
the temporal wants of her family and liome, is unworthy the name. 4. To join him 
in his irorship of God. We can imagine that the souls of Adam and Eve would be 
full of devotion and praise. They had been immediately created by God. They 
were the sole proprietors of the soil. They v/ere to be the progenitors of humanity. 
Their lives were full of spiritual 'y)j. Their souls vrere pure. God came to them 
in glorious vision. Together they would worship him. Let luisbands and wives 
througiiout tlie world join togetlier in their prayers and praises. Thus woman 
is man's help-meet, to rejoice in his joy, to share his sorrow, to minister to his 
comfort, and to aid his religious life and worship. 

III. ■Woman was brought to man that she might receive Ms love, protection, 
and care. Eve vras taken from tlie side of Adam, that she might be equal with 
him ; from near his heart that she might be loved by him ; from under his arm 
that she might l^e protected by him. AVoman was not intended to be man's 
slave. In many heathen nations this is the case, but wherever the Bible is taken, 
it teaches the moral elevation of woman. How intimate is the marriage 
relationship. The two become one flesh. They forsake all other relationship, 
comparatively, for the new one assumed. A man never shows more 
respect for himself than wlien he manifests love and respect for his wife. It is 
a great sin to violate this holy relationship, either by brutality or neglect. 
Lessons: — 1. The Di cine compassion for a lonely man. 2. That marriage is 
to furnish man with true companionship) of soul. ?>. That marriage is to aid 
man in all the e.rigencies of life. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verse 18. This complete loneliness, the noble, helpers to the heart and 

marking an imperfect life, w'as tho- mind such as Adam could not know in 

roughly unique. Whatever exileship his solitude. Even the " last man " 

or bereavement may effect, whatever sel- will have interwoven with his very 

fishness, or misantJu'opy, or great grief being memories of human companions, 

for the dead may make you feel for the and have upon him uneft'aceable im- 

time, you can never have reproduced pressions of them such as were impossi- 

in you Adam's loneliness. The world ble to the first man [Homilist]. 

around teems with human life that The creation of woman : — 1. The 

wants your blessing ; and there are occasion. 2. The resolution. 3. The 

in the biographies of men, in your preparation. 4. The presentation, 

memories of the dejiarted, in the pre- Loneliness is not good : — 1. For 

sence still on earth of the cood and intellectual development. 2. For moral 
40 



IIOMlLETt'J COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



culture. 3. For true enjoy meut. 4. A 
rebuke to monks. 

Loneliness not good ; — 1. For man's 
comfort. 2. For man's employment. 
3. For posterity. 

The v.'oman a help : — 1 . For assist- 
ance in family government. 2. For 
the couiun't of society. 3. For tlie 
continuance of the race. 

God knows all the wants of man and 
graciously makes arrangements to sup- 
ply them : — 1. The sabbath for rest. 

2. The garden for pleasure and work. 

3. The wife for companionship. 

A wife is not good, till it be not 
good to be without a wife. 

A man may, and it is God's will that 
he should, be the better for his wife : — 
1. She builds up the House (Froc. 
xiv. . I). 2. She profits him in his 
estate (^Pror. xxxi. 12y>. 3. Sheeasetli 
him of liis cares in looking to the ways 
of her family (^Pror. xxxi. 27/ 4. She 
adviseth him by her counsels (Gen. 
xxi. 10/ 5. She comforts hhn in his 
sorrows. 6. She helps to foresee and 
prevent danger (1 Sam. xxv. 18, 33). 
7. She furthers him in piety, by season- 
able encouragements, reverent admoni- 
tions, and by joining with him in holy 
prayers. 

Only the wife brought by God is 
likely to be good. 

A wife the helper of her husband : — 
1. Not his guide. 2. Not his ruler. 
3. Not his slave. 4. But his counsellor. 
A wife cannot be a good wife nnless 
she be a meet and tit wife : — 1. In 
parentage. 2. In estate. 3. In educa- 
tion. 4. Indisposition. 5. In religion. 
Jehovah Eloliim, man's Creator, 
knows what in every kind is good for 
man. 

The jndgment of the great God is, 
that it is in no Avay good for man, in 
respect of natnral, civil, or spiritual 
relations, to abide alone. 

Man was not made for a solitary, but 
for a sociable life, and to connuune 
with God. 

God in goodness makes that good 
for man which he stands in need of. 

The woman is God's workmanship as 
well as the man. 

The woman created last : — 1. The 



ground of lier inferiority. 2. The reason 
of her subjection. 3. Her plea for 
protection. 

The woman a help to man : — 1. God 
given. 2. Ready. 3. Willing. 4. Wel- 
come. 

Verse 19. If man had been formed 
out of the ground, the ground could 
not give him a companion. 

God brought the beasts to Adam 
before he created Eve, in order that 
the nnserviceableness of other things 
should enhance the worth of the tndy 
good. 

God can order the creature to do 
what he wishes : — 1. The ravens to 
feed Elijah. 2. The she bears to destroy 
the scoi'iing children. 3. The lion to 
meet the prophet. 4. The sparrows. 
God is pleased to honour man so far, 
to employ them in many things which 
of right belong unto Himself : — 1. To 
encourage men to His service. 2. To 
unite men in love. 3. To increase 
their reward and talents. 

Jehovali is maker, and will have 
Adam be the namer of all the creatures 
in the earth : — 1. A token of sove- 
reignty. 2. A token of ownership. 
3. A token of power. 



To see irliat Ju 



lid call them. 



If he liad been permitted to name 
himself, it should have been, probably, 
tiie Son of God, as he is called by 
St. Luke (Chapter iii. 38) in regard of 
his creation. But God, to humble him, 
calls him first, Adam, and after the 
fall, Enosh, that is, frail, sorry man. 
{T)'a2yp.'\ 

Verse 20. As [the beasts were no 
companion for man, we observe that 
no creature ought to be applied to any 
other use than God at first designed for 
it : — 1. God hath made all his works 
in wisdom. 2. That God's sovereignty 
may be acknowledged. 3. That con- 
fusion may be avoided. 

Briites no companions for man : — 

1. They have not common speech. 

2. They have not common employ- 
ments. 3. Their lives are not guided 
by common rules. 4. They do not live 
for common ends. 

47 



CHAP. I; 



liOMILETIC COMMENT A R Y : GENESIS. 



Vei'se 21. "A deep sleep to fall 
upon Adam." Whether it was a sleep 
or a trance cannot be gathered from the 
text. It was such a sleep, questionless, 
that took from Adam the power of 
observation till the work was ended. 
tSome conceive that he was cast into 
this sleep : — 1. To take from him the 
sense of pain, wliicli the taking out of 
his rib would involve. 2. That the 
work might be wholly of God. 3. That 
the Divine Providence might be the 
more apparent in providing a helpmeet 
for him when he was asleep. 4. To 
hide the operation from man. 

The 7'ibvfAH probably taken for its sit- 
uation in the body : — 1. Not from the 
head or foot, to manifest that the place 
of the wife was to be neither above nor 
far below lier husband. 2. That it was 
taken from a place near the heart, to 
indicate the true affection with which 
man must regard his wife. 3. Because 
this part of the body is covered with 
the arms, it denotes the protection the 
wife should receive. Perhaps the rib 
was taken liecausc it could be the best 
spared from the body of man without 
dcforniing it. The bone was also taken, 
not so much to indicate tlie moral 
stiffness of woman as her firmness in 
help and need. 

God does not shew men how He 
works, He onlj'' manifests the product 
of his toil. 

God takes care of us, and provides 
for our good even while we are a- 
sleep. 

God takes nothing from us but lie 
takes care to recompense it to us again; 

He that marrieth in the Lord, niar- 
rieth also with the Lord ; and he can- 
not be absent from his own marriage. 
A good wife was one of the first real and 
royal gifts bestowed upon Adam ; and 
God consults not with him to make 
him happy. As he Avas ignorant while 
himself was made, so shall he not know 
while a second self is made out of him ; 
both that the comfort might be greater 
than was expected, as also that he might 



not upbraid his wife with any great 
dependence or obligation ; he neither 
willing the work, nor suffering any pain 
to have it done. The rib cannot 
challenge no more of her than the earth 
can of him" [Trctpj)]. 

The ■woman was only made of one 
bone lest she should be stiff and stub- 
born [Z?. King\ 

Verse 22. Man's first sight of wo- 
man : — 1. One of admiration. 2. One 
of gratitude. 3. One of love. 

God hath allowed but one wife to 
one man. 

Every child of God must desire to 
receive his wife from God's hand : — 

1. That God, who looks at the heart, is 
only able rightly to direct their choice. 

2. It implies an obligation to make a 
right use of marriage. 3. It sweetens 
all the crosses of life. 

Verse 23. True marriage : — 1. Of 
God's making. 2. Of woman's con- 
senting. 3. Of man's reception. 

JNIan and wife are one flesh and bone. 

The woman's flesh was from man, not 
her soul. 

Marriage is an emblem of spiritual 
union between Christ and his church. 

Marriage is of God's institution. 

The happiest marriage is between 
souls stamped with God's image. 

Verse 24. God hath not only in- 
stituted marriage, but given law also 
to rule it. 

The union between parents and chil- 
dren is less than between man and 
wife, and therefore must give place. 

God's law warrants the children's 
desertion of their fathers to contract 
marriage in a lawful way. No honour 
due is to be denied to parents. 

Cleaving in mutual love to each 
other is the great conjugal law : — 

1. Such cleaving must be sincere. 

2. Such cleaving must be reciprocal. 

3. Such cleaving must be without 
end. 



S 



48 



IIQMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 11. 

BY THE 

EEV. WM. ADAIMSOK 



Six Days! Ver. 1. Conceive of six separate 
pictures, in which this great work is represented 
in each successive stage of its progress towards 
completion. As the performance of the painter, 
though it must have natural truth for its foun- 
dation, must not be considered or judged of as 
a delineation of mathematical or scientific 
accuracy ; so neither must this pictorial repre- 
sentation of the creation be regarded as literally 
and exactly true. As these few verses are but a 
synojisis or conspectus of Chap. I., so the pic- 
tures in that chapter are but a brief descrip- 
tion imder the symbol of days of a work 
stretching over thousands of years 

While earth throughout her farthest climes 

imbibed 
The influence of heaven. 

Sabbath! "Ver. 2. Six days had now 
elapsed since the work of creation was com- 
menced, but the dawn of Sabbath was the first 
which had shone upon the earth as finished, 
and occupied by man. This completes the 
jnctures of the young world. God hangs this 
on the palace walls of truth as the seventh 
painting ; and on its imperishable canvas, 
traced with indelible hues, one sees man keep- 
ing a Sabbath in Paradise. What an image of 
blessed tranquility and rest ! This was the 
great day of the earth's dedication to the ser- 
vice of God. The earth became holy ground, 
and must not be polluted by any profane act. 
And thus paradise and the Sabbath are coeval. 
They stand together on the same page of the 
Bible. They are seen shining like twin stars 
in the morning sky of the world — blending 
theii- lights in one like those binary stars in 
the material heavens. 

There is no day so glad as that, 

God's holy day of rest. 
There is no day so sad as that. 

Unhallowed and unblest. 

Sabbath ! Ver. -2. Some one has said that a 
world without a Sabbath would be like a man 
without a smile — like a summer without flowers 
— like a homestead without a garden. It is the 
joyous day of the whole week. And yet, if 
there is to be the Sabljath joy in the day, there 
must be the Sabbath spirit in the heart. It is 
the heart at rest which makes the Sabbath a 
joy ; and there can only be a true Sabbath 
gladness in those hearts 

Where Gospel light is glowing 
With pure and radiant beams, 

And living waters flowing, 

With soul-refreshing streams. — 

Wordrn'orfh. 

Sabbath ! Ver. 2. On the sides of an English 
coal mine, limestone is in constant process of 
formation, ca\xsed by the trickling of water 
through the rocks. This water contains a 



great many particles of lime, which are de- 
posited in the mine, and, as the water passes 
off, these become hard, and form the limestone. 
This stone would always be white, like white 
marble, were it not that men are working in 
the mine, and as the black dust rises from the 
coal it mixes with the soft lime, and in that 
way a black stone is formed. Now, in the 
night, when there is no coal-dust rising, the 
stone is white ; then again, the next day, when 
the miners are at work, another black layer is 
formed, and so on altei-nately black and white 
through the week until Sabbath comes. Then 
if the miners keep holy the Sabbath, a much 
larger layer of white stone will be formed 
than before. There -will be the white stone of 
Satm-day night, and the whole day and night 
of the Sabbath, so that every seventh day the 
white layer will be about three times as thick 
as any of the others. But if the men work 
on the Sabbath they see it marked against 
them in the stone. Hence the miners call it 
" the Sunday stone." How they need to be 
very careful to observe this holy day, when 
they would see their violation of God's com- 
mand thus wi-itten do\vn in stone — an image 
of the indelible record in heaven ! 

Heaven here : man on those hills of m3Trh 

and flowers ; 
A gleam of glory after six days' showers. — 

Vani/han. 

Sabbath-symbol! Ver. 3. It is, writes 
Chalmers, a favoin-ite speculation of mine, that 
— if spared to sixty — we then enter upon the 
seventh decade of human life ; and that this, if 
possiljle, should be turned into the Sabbath of 
our earthly pilgrimage, and spent sabbatically, 
as if on the shores of an eternal world, or in 
the outer court (as it were) of the temple that 
is above — the tabernacle in heaven. For 

" Sabbaths are threefold, as St. Austin says, 
The first of time, or Sabbath here of days ; 
The second is a conscience trespass free ; 
The last the Sabbath of Eternity." 

— Ilerrlch. 

Sabbath-rest ! Ver. 3. Like the pilgrim, the 
Christian sits down by this well in the desert — 
for what to him is the Sabbath, but a fountain 
in a land of drought, a palm-tree in the midst of 
the great wilderness — and as he drinks of the 
refreshing waters of this palm-shaded fountain, 
he is reminded of that rest which remaineth 
for the people of God. When, as Cumming says, 
that last Sabbath comes — the Sabbath of all 
creation — the heart, wearied with tumultuous 
beatings, shall have rest ; and the soul, fevered 
^vith its anxieties, shall have i^eace. The sun 
of that Sabbath will never set, nor hide his 
splendours in a cloud. Our earthly Sabbaths 
are but dim reflections of the heavenly Sabbath, 
cast upon the earth, dimmed by the transit of 

E 49 



HOMILETia COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



their rays from so great a height and so distant 
a world. They are but 

" The prehides of a feast that cannot cloy, 
And the bright out-courts of immortal glory I" 
— Barton. 

VapoTir ! Ver. 4. It interposes as a friendly 
shield between the sun and the earth, to check 
excessive evaporation from the one, and to ward 
off the rays of the other. This mist v^^as drawn 
from the earth by the sun, and hovered over 
it. Probably for man's creation, a change took 
place. Clouds rose higher ; and from them 
descended the fertilizing rains. The life of 
many is like the foul vapour which hangs all 
day over the mouth of a pit, or over the cease- 
less wheels of some dingy manufactory. It is 
a low earthborn thing — ever brooding over 
worldly business. Whereas nowhere is the 
cloud so beautiful as when — suspended by un- 
seen forces — it hangs high in the serene sky. 
Never is man's life so beautiful as when — 
spiritually -minded, heavenly -minded — it is 
lifted up above the selfishness and sordidness 
of a world lying in wickedness of the faith and 
love that are in Christ Jesus. It beconjes 
brighter and grander as it nears the gate of 
the west. It makes the world fairer by its 
presence while it lasts. It makes the twilight 
horizon of death ablaze with its splendour when 
it vanishes into the eternal world : — 

" For when he comes nearer to finish his race. 
Like a fine setting sim he looks richer in 

grace. 
And gives a sure hope, at the end of his days. 
Of rising in brigliter array." — Watts. 

Human Origrin ! Ver. 5. M. Boudon, says 
1* ercy, was one day sent for by Cardinal de Bois — ■ 
the Prime Minister of France — to j)erformavery 
serious surgical operation upon him. The 
cardinal on seeing him enter the room, said : 
" Remember that you are not to treat me in 
the same rough manner you would treat the 
poor miserable wretches at your hospital." To 
this the eminent surgeon responded with great 
dignity that every one of those miserable 
wretches was a prime minister in his eyes. 
What a rebuke to pride ! We are all the same 
flesh and blood ; for 

" Man is one ; 
And he hath one f,'reat heart. It is thus we feel, 
With a gigantic throlj athwart the sea, 
Each other's rights and \VTongs ; thus are we 
men." — Balloj. 

Immortality I Ver. 6. Professors Tyndal 
and Huxley say that man is nothing more than 
a combination of molecular atoms held together 
by certain forces which they call " organisms." 
If so, what becomes of personal identity ? And 
when they dissolved, did they get rid at once 
and for all by death of their identity, responsi- 
bilities, hopes and fears ? These men -will not 
answer such inquiries. Till they do, the Bible 
view of the future life is infinitely preferable 
to Tyndal's vague and hazy " infinite azure of 
50 



the past " — even on the low ground that a 
bird in the hand is worth two in the busli, or, 
as the Arabic, a tliousand cranes in the air are 
not worth one sparrow in the hand. These 
men had no right to lead us to the edge of an 
abyss, and, bidding us look down in the deep 
dark chasm, tell us never to mind, but do our 
duty. Do our duty, indeed ! How could a 
combination of molecular atoms do its duty — 
any more than a magnet ? According to their 
view, man had no duty to discharge ; at least, 
he had no responsilility by the non-discharge 
of it. But we view man otherwise than that. 

" Trust me, 'tis a clay above your scorning. 
With God's image stamped upon it, and God's 
kindling breath within." — Browning. 

Living' Soul ! Ver. 7. About forty-five 
years ago a funeral was passing through the 
streets of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It was the 
burial procession of John HaU Mason, the son 
of the eminent Dr. Mason, President of 
Diclunson College, one of the most j)owerful 
and eloquent preachers in America. The son 
was distinguished for his piety and talents, and 
his death had cast a gloom over many hearts. 
Many gathered to the funeral, from far and 
near, and especially young men. After the ser- 
vices at the house had been performed, and the 
pall-bearers had taken up the bier, a great 
concourse obstructed the entrance, and great 
confusion and noise ensued. The bereaved 
Doctor, observing the difiiculty, and following 
closely the pall-bearers, exclaimed in solemn 
sepulchral tones : " Tread lightly, young men ! 
tread lightly ! You bear the temple of the 
Holy Ghost." These sentiments, as though 
indited by the Holy Spirit, acted like an electric 
shock ; the crowd fell back and made the 
passage way clear. Through the influence of 
these words a most powerful revival of religion 
sprung up, and swept through the college, and 
extended over the town. 

" Since then, my God, thou hast 
So brave a temple built ; O dwell in it, 
That it may dwell with Thee at last." 

— Herbert. 

Humian Micd! Ver. 7. Adam's under- 
standing was like a golden lamp kindled at the 
gTeat fountain of light. It was subject to no 
dimness or eclipse. Over it tliere never passed 
the shadow of darkness ; and all around, over 
the whole region of duty, it shed a cloudless 
light ; so that man was in no danger of losing 
his path, or of mistaking the limits which His 
Maker had set. Thus his understanding was 
perfect. A child may be perfect althougli it 
has not reached the stature of a man ; and so 
Adam's mind was perfect — with a blissful ten- 
dency to enlarge, and daily to open up new 
sources of wonder and delight to itself. 

On ! said God unto his soul, 
As to the earth, for ever. And on it went, 
A rejoicing native of the infinite — 
x\s a bird of air — an orb of heaven." — Anon. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Breath of Life ! (V. 8.) God breathed 
into man at the first creation the breath of life, 
and he became a living creature. Christ 
breathed upon His disciples the breath of 
eternal life, and said : Keceive ye the Holy 
Ghost. We have all the breath of the first 
creation ; but this breath will not save us from 
the vanity and perishableness of our natural 
life. Christ must breathe into our souls the 
Holy Spirit, Who alone can make us immortal 
souls. To hew a block of marble fronr the 
quarry, and carve it into a noble statue — to 
break up a waste wilderness, and turn it into a 
garden of Howers — to melt a lump of iron-stone, 
and forge it into watch springs ; all these are 
mighty changes. Yet they all come short of 
the change which every child of Adam re- 
quires — for they are merely the same thing 
in a new form. But man must become a new 
creature. He must be born again — born from 
above — born of God. God must breathe into 
him the breath of life. So that the natural 
birth is not a whit more necessary to the life 
of the body than is the spiritual bii'th to the 
life of the soul. — ByU. 

Eden! Ver. 8. Sir Henry Eawliuson, to 
whom we owe so much in Assyi-ian decipher- 
ment, long ago identified Eden with the Kar- 
dunias or Gan-dunias of the inscriptions. Kar- 
duuias is one of the names of Babylonia — per- 
haps properly belonging to some particular part 
of the country, and it is said to be watered by 
four rivers just like Eden in Genesis. But Dr. 
Wylie and others lean towards another view of 
the locale of Eden. " Paradise " is said to be a 
garden eastward in Eden. As these words 
were penned by Moses in the wilderness south 
of Judea, it is self-evident that Eden must be 
considerably east of Palestine. Some have 
thought of the noble plain around Damascus, 
which is well-watered, luxuriant, and rich. 
Others have found it in that district known as 
Arabia Felix, so called on account of the emi- 
nent richness of its pastures. Wliile others 
have seen it in that region somewhere between 
Bagdad and Bussorah at the confluence of the 
Tigris and Euphrates. Here the soil is fertile, 
the climate delicious, and the noble stream 
which v\'aters it diffuses a delightful freshness 
and verdure throughout the great plain along 
which it flows. Here the skies are serene ; and 
the earth might wear everlastingly a robe of 
vernal beauty were it not for the neglect and 
barbarity of man. It is now occupied by igno- 
rant and barbarous tribes under the nominal 
sceptre of the Shah of Persia. Beyond this we 
can make no nearer approach to the seat of 
primaeval innocence 

" Well named 
A paradise, for never earth has worn 
Such close similitiide to heaven as there." 
— Biclcersieth. 

Man! Ver. S. He was to be the High 
Priest of creation, the mysterious yet glorious 
link between the material and spiritual. On 
him God placed his Eden robes that he might 



officiate on the first sabbath as a holy Levite 
before the Lord. Paradise was the temple 
prepared for him by his Creator, in which to 
worship the Holy and Eternal One. It was 
the glory of man that God breathed into his 
nostrils the breath of life, and made him a 
living soul, in order that he might stand as the 
annointed priest in the midst of the great con- 
gregation of creation, to give a tongue to all 
around him, that, through him, the loud anthem 
of universal adoration might lise too. And 
though man is no longer natm-e's minister 
before the Lord, and no longer resembles a 
walking orange tree swinging perfume from 
every little censer it holds up to the air, yet 

" Tliat day God's church doth still confess, 
At once creation and redemption's feast, 
Sign of a world called forth, a world forgiven." 

Maat. 

Work ! Ver. 8. Not only did Adam work 
before the Fall ; but also nature and natiu-e's 
God. From the particle of dust at our feet to 
man, the last strolce of God's handiwork, all 
bear the impress of the law of labour. Tlie 
earth, as has been said, is one vast laboratory, 
where decomposition and re-formation are con- 
stantly going on. The blast of nature's furnace 
never ceases, and its fires never Ijurn low. The 
lichen of the rock, and the oak of the forest, 
each works out the problem of its own existence, 
The earth, the air and the water teem with 
busy nfe. The poet tells us that the joyous 
song of labour sounds out from the million- 
voiced earth, and the rolling spheres join the 
universal chorus ! Therefore, labour is not, as 
Tiipper expresses it, the curse on the sous of 
men in all their ways. Kather — 

" In the master's vineyard. 
Go and work to-day ; 
Be no useless sluggard 
Standing in the way." — Bonus. 

Healthy Work ! Ver. 8. It is not, says 
one, work that kills men ; it is worry. Work 
is healthy ; you can hardly put more upon a 
man than he can bear. Motion is all natm-e's 
law. Action is man's salvation, both physical 
and mental. Best is ruin ; therefore he only is 
wise, who lays himself out to work tiU life's 
latest hoiu- ; and that is the man who will live 
the longest, and live to the most purpose, 
Woik gives a feeling of strength, and in this 
our highest pleasure consists. It is vigour ; 
for an angel's wing would droop if long at 
rest. As an Oriental couplet expresses the 
idea in quaint guise :— 

" Good striving 
Brings thriving ; 
Better a dog who works 
Than a lion who shirks. 

Tree! Ver. 11. A tree, called the raan- 
chaneel, grows in the West Indies. Its appear- 
ance is very attractive, and the wood of it 
peculiarly beautiful. It beai-s a kind of fruit 

51 



IIOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



resembling the golden pippin. This fruit looks 
very tempting, and smells very fragrant — 

"Not balm new bleeding from the wounded 

tree, 
Nor bless'd Ai-abia with her spicy grove. 
Such fragrance yields." 

But to eat of it is instant death. Its sap is 
so poisonous that, if a few drops of it faU on 
the skin, it raises blisters and occasions great 
pain. The Indians dip tlieir arrows in the 
juice, that they may poison their enemies 
when they wound them. 

Paradise! Ver. 12. To dream of a paradise on 
earth is to dream of what never can be realised. 
There is, however, another pai"adise into which 
we may enter — a paradise whose gates stand 
open day and night — at whose doors are minis- 
ters of gi-ace to invite iis to enter — within whose 
precincts are the Tree of Life and the Water 
of Life. It is the garden of His Church. Yet 
are the beauties of the Gospel paradise nought 
compared with the unfading charms of the 
Heavenly Eden. A traveller in the east was 
once invited to see the glory of a prince's 
garden. It was the night-blooming cereus ; 
glorious indeed, with its creamy waxen buds 
and full bloom of exquisite form — the leaves of 
the carolla of a pale golden hue, and the petals 
intensely white. He saw it just as the short 
twilight of the tropics was deejiening into 
night, and the beauteous flowers were begin- 
ning to exhale their wondrous perfume. But 
this sweet burst of glory he considered as 
nothing when, at the midnight hour, he saw 
the plant in all its queenlike radiance at perfect 
maturity, as the full glory of a royal garden 
revealed to his eye. So, beautiful as was the 
natural paradise, and beautiful as is the spiritual 
paradise, their beauty will be nothing to that 
of the ujaper paradise. 

" there are gardens of the immortal kind. 
That crown the Heavenly Eden's rising hills 
With beauty and with sweets ; 
Tlie branches bend laden with life and bliss." 

— Watts. 

Eden and Gethsemane! Vcr. 1.?. We com- 
pare the earthly ■with the heavenly paradise, 
but do we contrast Eden with Gethsemane ? 
The earthly Eden was man's Gethsemane — his 
garden of woe and sweat. The Gethsemane is 
man's spiritual Eden, where crimson flowers 
bloom brilliant as the sunset rays, and emit an 
odour sweeter far than the spicy perfumes 
wafted from eastern gardens. It has been very 
quaintly put thus : 

" Sweet Eden was the arbour of delight. 

Yet in its honey flowers our poison blew ; 

Sad Gethsemane, the bower of baleful night. 

Where Christ a health of poison for us 

drew, 
Yet all our honey in that poison grew." 
— Fletcher. 

Tree of Life ! Ver. 9. In Eastern poetry 
they tell of a wondrous tree, on which grew 

52 



golden apples and silver bells ; and every time 
the breeze went by and tossed the fragrant 
branches, a shower of those golden apples fell, 
and the living bells chimed and tinkled forth 
their airy ravishment. On the gospel tree 
there grow melodious blossoms ; sweeter bells 
than those which mingled with the pomegra- 
nates on Aaron's vest ; holy feelings, heaven- 
taught joys ; and when the wind blowing where 
he listeth, the south wind waking, when the 
Holy Spirit breathes upon that soul, there is 
the shaldng down of mello\v fruits, and the 
flow of healthy odovirs all around, and the gush 
of sweet music, where gentle tones and joyful 
echoings are wafted through the recesses of the 
soul. Not easily explained to others, and too 
ethereal to define, these joys are on that ac- 
count but the more delightful. The sweet 
sense of forgiveness ; the conscious exercise of 
all the devout affections, and grateful and ador- 
ing emotions God-ward ; the lull of sinful pas- 
sions, itself ecstatic music ; an exulting sense 
of the security of the well-ordered covenant ; 
the gladness of sui'ety righteousness, and the 
kindly spu-it of adoption, encouraging to say, 
" /Vbba, Father," all the delightful feelings 
which the Spirit of God increases or creates, 
and which are summed wp in that comprehen- 
sive word, " Joy in the Holy Ghost." — Ilamil- 

tOli. 

Blessings! Ver. 16. Holmes remarks 
that a man may look long enough in search of 
particles of iron, which he was told were in a 
dish of sand, and fail to detect them. But let 
another come, and sweep a magnet through the 
sand, and soon the invisible particles would be 
discerned by the mere power of attraction 1 
The thankless heart is like the finger, it cannot 
see the innumerable — the vast and varied bless- 
ings. The magnet is that truly grateful spirit, 
which, sweeping through the earth, discovers 
many a rich earthly treasure. 

In the nine heavens are eight paradises. 
Where is the ninth one 'I In the human 

heart. 
Given to tliee are those eight pai-adises. 
When thou the ninth one hast ^vithin thy 

heart. — Oriental. 

Helpmeet ! Ver. 18. " For Adam was not 
found an lielpmeet." This was an anomalous 
position. AH the beings with whom hitherto he 
had come in contact were either above him or 
below him. Noonewas his equal — he icas alone. 
Around him were innumerable servants ; but 
the wde cu-cle of his empire did not contain 
one with whom he could reciprocate affection 
— with whom he could in all points sympathise. 
To supply this blank a new creation had to 
take place — a fairer form was to enrich the 
earth than any which it yet contained. 

For there's that sweetness in a female mind, 
Which in a man, we cannot hope to find. — 
Pomfret. 

Home Duties ! Ver. 18. The duties of domes- 



HOMILETTO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. IT, 



tic life — exercised as" they must be in retirement, 
and calling forth all the sensibilities of the 
female — are perhaps as necessary to the full 
development of her charms as tlie shades and 
shadows are to the rose ; confirming its beauty, 
and increasing its fragi-ance : — 

For nothing lovelier can be found 
In woman, than to study household good, 
And good worlcs in her husband to promote. 

Milton. 



Feminine Solace! Ver. 18. Washington 
Irving likens such a woman to the vine. As 
the vine, which has long twined its graceful 
foliage about the oak, and been lifted by it in 
sunshine, will, when the hardy plant is rifted 
by the thimderbolt, cling round it with its 
caressing tendi-ils, and bind up its shattered 
boughs ; so it is beautifully ordered by Pro- 
viilence that woman shoidd be man's stay and 
solace when smitten with sudden calamity — 
binding up the broken heart. 

" 'Tis woman's to bind up the broken heart. 
And soften the bending spirit's smart ; 
And to light in this world of sin and pain, 
The lamp of love, and of joy again." — Anon. 

Wife-help ! Ver. 19. Guelph, the Duke of 
Bavaria, was besieged in his castle, and com- 
pelled to capitulate to the Emperor Conrad. 
His lady demanded for herself and the other 
ladies safe conduct to a place of safety, with 
whatever they could carry. This was granted ; 
and to the astonishment of all, the ladies ap- 
peared, carrying their husbands on their backs. 
Thus wives aided their husl^ands : and never 



in the gayest moods in tournament or court did 
those fair dames look more lovely. 

" Tis beauty that doth oft make women proud ; 
'Tis virtue that doth make them most ad- 
mu-ed . " — Shah'.sjxa re. 

Woman ! Ver. 19. Hargrave says that wo- 
men are the poetry of the world in the same 
sense as the stars are the poetry of heaven, 
Clear, light-giving harmonies, women are the 
terrestrial planets that rule the destinies of 
manldnd. 

" Ye are stars of the night, ye are gems of the 
morn, 
Ye are dewdrops, whose lustrue illumines the 
thorn." — Moore. 

Adam's Sleep! Ver. 21. Wlien we look at 
Adam cast into a deep sleep, we take courage 
in the prospect of that change which all of" us 
must undergo ; for is not the Jirst man's trance 
or slumber an emblem of death ? And may 
not God enable the believer to yield up his 
spiiit at last, as easily as Adam did his rib 1 
It was Jehovah who cast him into a deep sleep, 
and it is Jehovah Jesus who leads the saint 
down into the valley of the shadow of death 
for a little while. Of Stephen we read that he 
fell asleep. The execrations of his enemies were 
yet ringing in his ears, when God caused a 
deep and tranquil repose to fall upon him. 

" Softly within that resting-place 

We lay their wearied limbs, and bid the 
clay 
Press lightly on them till the nii/fd he past, 
And the far east give note of coming Day, 



CHAPTER III. 



C!ritical Notes. — 1. Serpent.] Heb. na-chash : " so called from its hissing " (Gesenius) ; 
" named perhaps from hissing " (Fiirst) : rendered " serpent " by Young, Leeser, ^Murjjhy, antl 
others ; ophis by the Sept., and serpens by the Vulg. Prof. Tayler Lewis (in Lange's Genesis) 
thinks " the name may have been given to the serpent from its glossy, shining appearance, or 
more likely from the bright glistening of the eye." The main point is that there seems to be 
no sufficient reason to doubt that the " serpent " is here intended. It is perhaps of more import- 
ance to attend to what follows. Was more subtle.] This is undoubtedly an inadequate render- 
ing : "had become subtle (or crafty) " would more satisfactorily render what is to be seen in the 
original ; — in which the following points are observable. (1) The meaning of the root Juiyah as 
equivalent to lecome, — a point strangely overlooked by lexicographers and expositors. We are 
glad however to find Driver (Heb. Tenses, p. 206) expressly setting this forth : he says that 
huyah is "much more " yiyverxi than £0"T/ ; i.e., " much more " becomes than is. (2) The tense, 
which is here the perfect, and which, to suit the general style of the A.V., ought to have been 
rendered as a pluperfect (a " past behind a past ") : " had become." In consistency Murphy 
ought to have so rendered the word in this place, having already very properly translated ch. i. 2 : 
" And the earth had become a waste and a void." There is a remarkable sameness of construc- 
tion in the two places,— extending even to the next particular ; viz. : (3) The emphatic pre- 
cedence of the nominative, a circumstance never to be overlooked in Hebrew composition. As 
there : " But the earth had become a waste and a void ;" so here : " But the serpent had 
become crafty beyond all the living creatm-es," &c. This alone brings out the force and feeling 
of the original. Strong emphasis implies contrast ; contrast finds no more than due expression 
in the admonitory " But," which here sounds like the death-knell of paradise. All so far had 
gone on well: "But — the serpent had become crafty." Mow * We are not at this time in- 
formed. It might be premature, were the sacred story as yet to attempt to tell. What we have 
since learnt, however (Rev. xx. 2), makes this strange, lone hint one of deep interest to the 
reflecting reader. — 24. Cherutoijns.] The final " s " is supei-fluous : the word should be either 

53 



HOMTLETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



" cherubim," oi*, what comes to the same thing, " cherubs." It is of much more consequence to 
know and remember that the Hel). has the definite article. This is very significant. It implies 
that, when the book of Genesis was written, the notion of "the cherubim" had become "familiar." 
Instead of wearying the reader with the numerous, and for the most part obviously far-fetched 
conjectures which critics have indulged in as to the derivation and meaning of the word cherub, 
we will merely say that pei-haps one of the latest and simplest explanations is the best. Fiirst 
regards the root {7c-r-li) as meaning " to seize, catch, lay hold of ;" and compares with it the 
Sanscrit grihh, Persian giriften, Greek ypvTri 'ypv(p, German grij'), hrip, greif, &c. If, as he 
says, the word is an "abstract," and signifies "the seizing, laying hold of," even so a ready 
application of the term to the objects intended may be made. But if, as we venture to think, 
Tcaruhh is simply a pure passire, then the meaning yielded by it would be " the seized ones," 
"the laid hold of ones," " the possessed ones," — than which a more fitting significance could 
scarcely Ije imagined (cf. especially Ps. xviii. 10 ; Ixxx. 1 ; Ez. x.) On the one hand, the clierubim 
laid hold of and enclosed the divine glory ; and, on the other, the divine power laid hold of and 
directed these upbearers of the divine majesty. 

MAIN IIOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPII.— Vcrscs 1--7. 

The Fikst Great Temptatiojt. 

It is well for the military general to study the plan and the history of great 
battles that have been fought in the past, in order that he may learn how best 
to order and arrange his troops in the event of war. So human life is a great 
moral campaign. Tlie battle-field is tlie soul of man. The conflicting powers 
are Satan and humanity, good and evil.. In the history of the first great 
temptation of our first parents we have a typical battle, in which we see the 
methods of satanic approach to the soul, and which it will be well for us to 
contemplate. It is well to learn how to engage in the moral conflicts of life, 
before we are actually called into them. Every day should find us better 
warriors in the service of right. 

I. That the human soul is frequently tempted by a dire foe of unusual 
subtlety. " Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field." 
1. The ternpter of human souls is subtile. He presents himself to the soul of 
man in the most insidious forms, in the most fascinating ways, and with the 
most alluring promises. He endeavours to make men think when in the service 
of God, that they are ignorant of the grand mysteries of the universe, that the tree 
of knowledge, of which they dare not eat, contains the secret of their lives, and 
that if they will, contrary to the Divine command, partake of it, they will step 
into the Supreme temple of wisdom. Hence the curiosity of man is awakened. 
A strange fascination takes possession of his spirit. He is led to violate the 
Divine behest. Or, the devil will tell men that in the service of God, they are 
deprived of liberty ; and for the freedom of goodness he offers them the wild 
license of sin, and lured by this hope he gets them to eat forljidden fruit. Satan 
has many schemes by which to lead men contrary to the will of God, and in 
opposition to their own moral welfare. He can adapt himself to any circum- 
stance. He can make use of any agency. He often comes to us when we are 
lonely. He has access to our most beautiful Edens. 2. The temjjter oj human souls 
is malignant. God had just placed Adam and Eve in the lovely garden of Eden. 
These two progenitors of the race were made in His image, were prepared for 
healthful toil, and for all innocent pleasure. They were happy in each other. 
They were supremely happy in their God. The new creation was their 
heritage. How malignant the person who can seek artfully to dim a picture so 
lovely, or destroy a happiness so pure. Only a fallen angel could have conceived 
the thought. Only a devil could have wrought it into action. He is unmoved 
by pity. His mission is the interruption of human enjoyment. And we see 
him fulfilling it on every page of human life and history. 3. The tempter of 
human souls is courageous. We almost wonder that Satan dared to venture 
54 



HOMILETW COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



into the new and lovely paradise which God had made for our first parents. 
Would not God expel him at once ? Would not Eve instinctively recognize him 
notwithstanding his disguised appearance, and his bland approach to her. 
Might not such thoughts as these pass within his mind. If they did he would 
not long yield to them. Satan is bold and adventuresome. Pie will approach 
the first parents of the race, to seek their ruin, even though heaven may be 
their helper. He will tempt the Lord of the universe with the kingdoms of 
this world. He knows no tremor. He is best met by humility. 

II. That the Tempter seeks to engage the human soul in conversation and 
controversy. — " And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said. Ye shall 
not eat of every tree of the garden." Life is a beautiful garden in which man 
must find work, and in which he may find pleasure. But there are trees in it 
which are environed by Divine and requisite restrictions. The forbidden plants 
are known to man. They are revealed to him by the Word of God, and by his 
own conscience. Hence there can be no mistake. Man need not be taken 
unawares. But in reference to certain phases of human life Satan seeks to hold 
c<jntroversy with the human soul. 1. He seeks to hold controversy ivith human 
souls that he may render them impatient of the moral restrictions of life. He 
does not seek to talk to Eve about the tillage of the garden, or about the many 
trees of v/hicli she was at liberty to eat, but only about this one tree of which she 
and her husband were forbidden to partake. In this we see the devil's know- 
ledge of human nature, and also the cunning of his fallen intellect. Men are far 
more impatient of their restrictions than they are mindful of their liberty, and 
hence are sensitive to any reference made thereto. Hence the great effort of 
Satan is to lead men astray not chiefly by cpiestioning the theology of the 
Bible, but by directing their attention to the limits that it places upon their 
conduct. When you begiu to question the right or wrong of any action, that 
is the first indication that Satan is seeking to hold a controversy with your 
soul, as you need never have a doubt as to whether you should cat the fruit of 
the forbidden tree. Never let the devil make you impatient of the laws of 
moral rectitude. When he reminds you of the one tree of which you may not 
eat, then show him all the other trees in the garden which are at your entire 
disposal. The restrictions of life are few, but they are real and fiir reaching. 
They relate to the destiny of the soul. 2. He seeks to hold controversy with 
human souls that he may insidiously awahen icithin them thoughts derogatory 
to the character of God. The woman in response to the serpent said that God 
had forbidden them to eat of the tree. Satan continues the argument from 
the same point. He states that God had told her a lie ! Sin always commences 
here. The moment a soul holds controversy about the moral character of God, 
is the moment of its fall. The man who believes God to be untruthful, must 
and will be untruthful himself We are good and safe in proportion as we 
reverence and love the character of God. Satan intimates to Eve that he 
knows as much about the tree as God did, and that she was justified in 
crediting his statement as much as the Divine. This is the one effort of the 
devil, to substitute himself to the human so)il, in the place of God. He still 
seel^s to make men worship him. 3 He seeks to hold controversy with human 
souls that he may lead them to yield to the lust of the eye. " For God doth 
know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye 
shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the 
tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes," &c. This is the 
artifice of Satan, to get men to remove from the true basis of moral life. The 
true basis of moral conduct is, as Eve had just intimated, the Word of God._ 
But now she is making desire the basis of her conduct. In the processes of 
temptation there are not merely the solicitations of the devil to lead the soul 

55 



IIOMILETIG COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



away from right, but there are also the brilHant appearances of the things we see. 
The tree is often pleasani to the ej^es. Temptation always furnishes its dupe with 
an excuse. Eve saw that the tree was good for food. There is a gradual 
progress to sin. First you talk with the devil. Then you believe _ the devil. 
Then you obey the devil. Then you are conquered by tlie devil. Never 
make lust the basis of life. If you do you will fall irretrievably. 

III. That the Tempter seeks to make one soul his ally in the seduction of 
another. " She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her 
husband with her ; and he did eat." Eve little thought at the commencement 
of her interview wdth the serpent, what would be its end. One conversation 
Avith the devil maj^ eternally ruin a soul. Pie is a pleasing interlocutor. But 
he is false. We observe that he tempted Eve first. He probably thought that 
he would the more readily Avin the w'eak one to his design. And when the 
devil lures a man's wife to evil, it is a bad omen for her husband. She will 
probably become his tempter. The domestic relationships of life are fraught 
wdth the most aAvful possibilities of good or evil to human souls. A wicked 
wife may be the moral ruin of a family. See the crafty policy of hell. Never 
join yourself in league with Satan to tempt another soul to evil. Satan is 
after all sadly effective in his work. 

IV. That the human soul soon awakes from the subtle vision of temptation 
to find that it has been deluded and ruined. " And the eyes of both were 
opened, and they knew that they were naked ; and they sewed fig leaves 
together, and made themselves aprons." 1. That the human soul soon awakes 
Jroni the charming vision of temptation. Temptation is a charming vision to 
the soul. The tree looks gigantic. The fruit looks rich and ripe, and. its colour 
begins to glow more and yet more, then it is plucked and eaten. Then comes 
the bitter taste. The sad recollection. The moment of despair. To Adam 
and Eve sin was a new experience. It was an experience they would have been 
better and happier without. No man is the better for the woful experience 
of evil. 2. That the human soul, awakening from the vision oj temjytation, is 
conscious of moral nakedness. The tempter promised that Adam and Eve 
should l^ecome wdse and divine, whereas they became foolish and naked. In the 
strange effort to become divine they became mortal. Sin always brings shame, 
a shame it deeply feels but cannot hide. How sad the destitution of a soul 
that has fallen from God. ?>. That the human soul awakening from the vision 
of temptation, conscious of its moral nakedness, seeks to provide a clothing of its 
cum device. Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together to make them aprons. 
Sin must have a covering. It is often ingenious in making and sewing it 
together. But its covering is always unworthy and futile. Man cannot of 
himself clothe his soul. Only the righteousness of Christ can effectually hide 

his moral nakedness. 

Jesus, thy Blood and Eighteousness 
My beauty are, my glorious dress ; 
'Midst flaming worlds, in these array'd, 
With joy shall I lift up my head. 

Le.sisons : — 1, To bcivare of the subtlety of the devil. 2. Never to hold converse 
with iSatan. 3. Never to yield to the lust of the eye. 4. Never to tempt another 
fo evil. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verse 1. The Serpent. that the evil spirit is to be understood 

Almost throughout the East the in this narrative of Genesis. Yet not 

serpent was used as an emblem of the only did the East in general look on 

principle of evil. Some writers deny the serpent as an emblem of the spirit 

56 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



of evil, but the earliest traces of Jewish 
or Christian interpretations all point 
to this. The evil one is constantly 
called by the Jews " the old serpent " 
{Ihv. xii. 9). Some have thought 
that no serpent appeared, but only that 
evil one, who is called the serpent ; but 
then he could not have been said to be 
" more subtil than all the beasts of the 
held." The reason why Satan took the 
form of a beast remarkable for its 
subtlety may have been that so Eve 
might be the less upon her guard. 
New as she was to all creation, she may 
not have been surprised at speech in an 
animal which apparently possessed al- 
most human sagacity [*S|^g'aA'g/>"' Com- 
mentar?/]. 

" Fit vessel, fittest imj) of fraud . . . 
. . . For in the wily snake 
Whatever sleights none Avould suspicion 

mark, 
As from his wit and nature subtlety 
Proceeding, which in other beasts observed. 
Doubt might beget of diabolic power, 
Active ^vithin, beyond the sense of brute.'' — 
Paradise Lost. 

But to anyone who reads the narra- 
tive carefully in connection with the 
previous history of the creation, and 
bears in mind that man is here described 
as exalted f;ir above all the rest of the 
animal world, not only by the fact of 
his having been created in the image 
of God and invested with dominion 
over all the creatures of the earth, but 
also because God breathed into him 
the breath of life, and no helpmeet for 
him was found among the beasts of 
the field, and also tliat this superiority 
Avas manifest in the gift of speech, 
which enabled him to give names to 
all the rest — a thing which they, as 
speechless, were unable to perform — it 
nnist be at once apparent that it was 
not from the serpent, as a sagacious 
and crafty animal, that the tem]:)tation 
})roceeded, but that the serpent was 
simply tlie tool of that evil spirit who 
is met with in the further course of the 
world's history under the name of 
Satan. When the serpent, therefore, 
is introduced as speaking, and that 
just as if it had been entrusted with 
the thoughts of God Himself, the 
speaking must have emanated, not from 



the serpent, but from a superior spirit, 
Avhich had taken possession of the ser- 
pent for the sake of seducing man. . . . 
The serpent is not a merely symbolical 
term applied to Satan ; nor was it only 
the form which Satan assumed ; but it 
was a real serpent, perverted by Satan 
to be the instrument of his temptation 
[Keil and Delitzsch.~\ 

It has been supposed by many com- 
mentators that the serpent, prior to the 
Fall, moved along in an erect attitude, 
as Milton {Far. L. ix. 496) : 

" Not with indented wave 
Prone on the ground, as since, but on his rear, 
Circular base of rising folds that tower'd 
Fold above fold, a surging maze." 

But it is quite clear that an erect mode 
of progression is utterly incompatible 
with the structure of a serpent, whose 
motion on the ground is beautifully 
effected by the mechanism of the ver- 
tebral column and the multitudinous 
ribs, which, forming as it were so many 
pairs of levers, enable the animal to 
move its body from place to place ; 
consequently, had the snakes before the 
fall moved in an erect attitude, they 
must have been formed on a different 
plan altogether. It is true that there 
are saurian reptiles, such as the Sau- 
rophis ti4radactijlus and the Chamae- 
saura anguina of South Africa, which 
in external form are very like serpents, 
but with quasi-feet ; indeed, even in 
the boa -constrictor, underneath the 
skin near the extremity, there exist 
rudimentary legs ; some have been dis- 
posed to believe that the snakes before 
the Fall were similar to the Saiirophls. 
Such an hypothesis, however, is un- 
tenable, for all the fossil ophedia that 
have hitherto been found differ in no 
essential respect from modern repre- 
sentations of that order ; it is, more- 
over, beside the mark, for the words of 
the curse, " Upon thy belly shalt thou 
go," are as characteristic of the pro- 
gression of a saurophoid serpent before 
the Fall as of a true ophidian after it. 
There is no reason whatever to con- 
clude from the language of Scripture 
that the serpent underwent any change 
of form on account of the part it played 
in the history of the Fall. The sun 



CHAP. III. 



IIOMILETW COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



and the moon were in the heavcas long 
before they were appohited " for signs 
and for seasons, and for days and 
years." The typical form of the ser- 
pent and its mode of progression were 
in all probability the same before the 
Fall as after it ; but subsequeut to the 
Fall its form and progression were to 
be regarded with hatred and disgust l)y 
all marddnd, and thus the animal Avas 
cursed " above all cattle," and a mark 
of condemnation w\as for ever stamped 
ui)ou it [titHdenU' Old 2'estament His- 
tory, hy Dr. Hmitli\. 

The trial of our hrst progenitors was 
ordained by God, because probation 
was essential to tlicir s})iritual develop- 
ment and self-determination. But as 
lie did not desire that they should be 
tempted to their fall, lie would not 
suffer Satan to tempt them in a way 
which should surpass their liuman 
capacity. The temi)ted might there- 
fore have resisted the tempter. If, in- 
stead of approaching them in the form 
of a celestial being, in the likeness of 
God, he came in that of a creature, not 
only far inferior to (j|od, but far below 
themselves, they coidd have no excuse 
for allowing a mere animal to persuade 
them to break the coinmaudment of 
God. For they had been made to have 
dominion over the beasts, and not to 
take their own law from them. More- 
over, the fact that an evil spirit was 
approaching them in the serpent could 
hardly be concealed from them. Its 
speaking alone must have suggested 
that ; for Adam had already become ac- 
([uainted with the nature of the beasts, 
and had not found one among them re- 
send)ling himself — not one, therefore, 
endowed with reason and speech. The 
substance of theaddress, too, was enough 
to prove that it wasno good spirit which 
spake through the serpent, but one at 
enmity with God. Hence, when they 
paid attention to what he said, they 
Avere altogether without excuse \_Ke'd 
and Delitzscli]. 

Wit unsanctified is a fit tool for the 
devil to work withal \Trapp\. 

1. The time of this temptation. 2 
The place of this temptation. 3. The 
issue of this temptation. 



The devil's advice : — 1. It is freely 
given. 2. It is wofully misleading. 
3. It is counter to the Divine com- 
mand. 4. It is blandly proffered. 5. 
It is often taken. 

It is the usual custom of Satan to 
tempt men before they are confirmed 
Ity habit in the c<jurse of goodness : — 

1. Because he envies man's liappiness. 

2. Because he hopes more readily to 
etiect his iniscliief. ."5. Let the newly 
c(jnverted prepare for him. 

Satan contrives mischief against 
those who never provoke him. 

No place nor employment can froe 
us from the assault of Satan : — 1. He 
tem])ted our first parents in Paradise. 
2. Eli's sons in the tabernacle. 3. 
Christ in the wilderness. 

Though Satan is the author of temp- 
tation he cares not to be seen as such. 

Satan usually nuxkes choice of those 
instruments which he finds fittest for 
the compassing of his own wicked ends. 

Cunning persons are dangerous. 

No advant.ige can assure a child of 
God from the temptations of Satan : — 
r Not holiness. 2. Not the expe- 
rience of (jlod's mercies, o. Not vic- 
tories in past spiritual contests. 

Satan: — 1. His])o\ver. 2. His malice. 
;j. His cunning. 4. His dihgence. 

The devil's assista,nts: — 1. Our lusts 
within. 2. Our world without. 8. Our 
own moral weakness. 

Solitariness is many times a snare : 
— 1. It yields advantage to temptation. 
2. It gives the greater opportunity to 
connnit sin unseen by men. 3. It de- 
prives men of help by advice. 

Satan's main end is man's destruc- 
tion by turning away his heart from 
God. 

It is usual with Satan and his in- 
struments to pretend the good of tlnise 
they intend to destroy : — 1. Consider 
the being who makes the promise. 
2. Seriously consider whether it is a 
real good promise. .'5. Contemplate 
under what condition they tender the 
things to us. 

It is a dangerous snare for a man to 
have his eyes too much fixed upon his 
wants. 

The nature of nuin is apt by the art 



IIOMILETIG COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. III. 



and policy of Satan to be carried 
against all restraint and subjection. 

Man's fall is as needful to be known 
as his best estate. 

The devil may give forth a human 
voice to dumb and speechless crea- 
tures. 

It is the devil's great plot in tempt- 
ing man to destruction, to corrupt the 
mind. 

Verse 2. It is dangerous to talk 
freely to persons of whom we have no 
knowledge. 

It is a dangerous thing to debate 
evident and known truths. 

Blasphemous suggestions ought not 
to l)e heard without indignation : — 
1. To manifest our zeal for God's 
honour and truth. 2. To secure our- 
selves from a further assault. 3. To 
prevent the hardening of the soul 
against wicked suggestions. 

The goodness and bounty of God to 
men is a sad aggravation of sin. 

Creatures must vindicate God's good- 
ness, though Satan detract from it. 

Man knows the innocent pleasures 
of life. 



Verse .3, When we remember the 
law of God, we must set before us the 
sanction annexed thereto: — ,1. For 
God's honour. 2. For our necessity. 
3. For our victory. 

When we recall the law of God, we 
should remember the giver of it. 

It is hard to bring man's heart to 
submit to, and bear with patience any 
yoke of restraint. 

Whoever will not be entangled by 
allurements to sin, must not come near 
them. 

The slighting of the curse of the 
law, makes way to the transgressing of 
the law. 

Acknowledgement of God's law will 
more heartily condemn the soul that 
sinneth. 

The least doubt about the truth of 
God's threatenings makes the soul more 
bold to sin. 

" Naitlwr shall iic Unicli it" This is 
of the woman's own addition, and of a 
good intention doubtless. For after- 
wards, when slie had drunk in more of 
the serpent's deadly poison, from gazing 
upon the fruit, she fell to gaping after 
it, from touching to tasting yTrapp\. 



TiiK FiusT Lii:. Verse 4. 



Sin entered our world by falsehood. As sin 
was thus introduced, so it has been very mainly 
sustained and propagated by lies ; .10 says tliu 
Apostle John, and yi\es evidence.s of its truth. 

I. At the author of this first lie. Satan — the 
devil — the deceiver — are the titles given him 
in Scripture, and .Tesus says of him, He is a 
liar, and the father of lies, John viii. 44. No 
doubt this was scenic or dramatic, with tlie 
tree in sight, as the conversation was held. 
Here is tlie earthly fountain of falsehood, and 
the author of the hrst lie. 

II. The nature of the lie uttered. " Ye sliall 
not surely die." Observe, it was the direct fal- 
sification of God's threatening, in absolute con- 
tradiction of (.iod's own Word. ((Jeii. ii. 17.) 

III. It was a most daring and presumptuous 
lie. The height of desperate effrontery. A 
challenge of the Almighty. Bold collision with 
the (iod and Creator of the universe. 

IV. It was a most malignant and envious lie. 
Tliere can be no doubt that Satan saw and 
envied, and then hated tlie first human pair in 
their innocency and blessedness ; and now 
serpent like, he fascinates, and throws liis 
horrid spell with fatal accuracy over the ready 



listeners, and then inserts the poisonous and 
venemous ini(iuity and ruin into the soul. 

V. It was a destructive, murderous lie. So 

.Tesu.s ccmnects the first lie with tlie murder it 
effected. It slew our first jjareiits — destroyed 
their innocency — blinded tlieir minds — defiled 
their consciences — and overspread the soui with 
lejji-ous defilement and guilt ; and, as (Jod had 
said, death not only arrested our first parents, 
and bound them with cliains and fetters as 
guilty and condemned befdre Him. 

VI. It was the germ of all unrealness and 
deception that should curse mankind. Now 
crookedness, illusion and deceit beg.in their 
career. The false in all its forms and shades 
is traceable to this fir.st lie. All igniorance — 
all error— all superstition— all base fear — all 
inward treason of heart, took their rise here. 
It poisoned the moral blood, degenerated the 
race, and introduced every hideous deformity 
and foul impurity into the human family and 
species. 

VII. It was a lying entanglement ft-oni which 
humanity could not extricate itself. Man euuld 
rush into darkness, but could not find his way 
liack to light and day— he could fall, but not 
restore himself — he could die, by choosing to 

59 



JIOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



do so, but he could not resuscitate or raise 
himself again to life. The Divine image was 
effaced — the Divine Sj^irit exorcised — the soul 
in its original giory destroyed. 

VIII. Jesus, the Divine Truth, came to de- 
liver us from this lie and its results. He was 
immediately promised as the woman's con- 
C[nering seed — He came, and was manifested 
to destroy the works of the devil — He over- 
came him in the wilderness, cast him and his 
demons out of the boLUes and souls of men — 
He overthrew him on the Cross, entered his 
domains of death, and opened a royal passage 
through the tomb, and opened the gates of 
the second paradise to all believers. Hence, 
observe — 

IX. The Gospel is the delivering power from 
Satan's falsehoods. Christ is the Author and 
Prince of truth — His Word is truth — He 
makes this Word His own power to salvation. 
This is the remedy for Satan's falsehood and 
malignity. By the Spirit and Word of Truth 
He regenerates, sanctities, and makes meet for 
eternal glory. By this His saved people defy 
Satan, and overcome his machinations and lies. 
The kingdom of Christ is the kingdom of 
truth — this truth of Christ is to destroy the 
kingdom of Satan, and renew the world in 
true holiness, and bring down the Tabernacle 
of God from heaven to earth. — [Dr. Burns.) 

Verse 4. Once yielding to the 
tempter's charm gives him greater 
boldness. 

It is the devil's method to draw 
souls from doubting God's truth to 
deny it. 

It is a strong delusion of Satan to 
persuade a sinner that he shall not die. 

It is the initial property of the 
tempter to be a liar, to deny what 
God affirjns. 

The tempter deals in equivocations 
with double words and senses. 

There is no truth of God so clear 
and manifest Avhicli Satan dare not 
contradict : — 1. Because he is a liar. 
2. Because it concerns him to con- 
tradict fundamental truths. 3. Be- 
cause he understands tlie corruption 
of the human heart. 

Satan never makes use of God's ■ 
word, but for mischief. 

_ Verse 5. Satan in all his promises 
gives men no ground to build upon 
but his own bare word. 

Discontent at our present condition 
is a dangerous temptation of Satan : — 
1. Of unthankfulness to God. 2. Of 
GO 



disgust to our own heart. 3. Of envy 
with our neighbours. 

Self love and seeking is one of 
Satan's most dangerous snares. 

Satan tempts us to sin, not only in 
our pleasures and delights, but also in 
our duties : — 1. Because then we feel 
most secure. 2. Because then he will 
corrupt our best endeavours. 3. Let 
us look carefully at the motive of our 
best duties. 

The searching after the knowledge 
of unnecessary things is one of Satan's 
snares. 

The special end that Satan persuades 
wicked men to aim at is that they may 
be as gods : — 1. To excel alone. 2. 
To be independent. 3. To be com- 
manded by none. 4. To give account 
to none. 

It is Satan's policy to draw men 
to depend upon the creature, for tliat 
which only God can give. 

Satan's preferments are abasements. 

Hasty resolutions prove commonly 
dangerous in the issue. 

The nearer things are to be enjoyed, 
the more strongly the heart is aifected 
by them : — 1. Then let us fix our eyes 
on our mercies. 2. Try to make the 
future present to our vision. 3. Think 
of the shortness of this present life. 

It is a strong temptation on man 
to persuade enlightening by sinning. 

In all the light pretended, Satan 
intends nothing but experience of 
nakedness and shame. 

Verse 6. Man brought by Satan to 
unbelief is prepared for any wicked- 
ness. 

Hearts slighting God's word are 
given up to Satan to believe lies. 

Hearts so seduced call that good 
which God calls evil. 

Unbelief makes souls judge that 
meat which is poison and death by 
God's word. 

Unbelief stirs up lust in the eye, 
to that which we should loathe. 

Forbidden things soonest stir up 
sinful desires. 

Lust persuadeth there is wisdom to 
be had, where there is nothing but ex- 
perience of evil. 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



CHAP. Ill, 



The woman was first in the trans- 
gression, but the man equal. _ 

Aggravated beyond all sin is the first 
transgression, being done wilfully, 
against such a God and such endow- 
ments. 

Just is it with God to sufter men to 
fall, that choose it rather than stead- 
fastness in his word. 

Things usually appear to us as we 
stand affected toward them in our 
hearts. 

It is dangerous to a man to fix his 
senses upon enticing objects. 

Men are easily drawn to believe, and 



hope anything of that which they 
desire. 

Man is an ill chooser of his own 
good. 

It is not in the power of Satan to 
draw any man to sin without his own 
consent. 

They that sin themselves are com- 
monly seducers of others to sin. 

One tliat is fallen into sin is many 
times most dangerous to his nearest 
friends : — 1. Because they are apt to 
communicate the evil. 2. Because 
they are powerful to prevail with 
friends. 3. In daily commerce. 



The Moral Aspect of the Senses. 

Eden, whatever its geograi^hy, or physical characteristics, must be ever an interesting spot in 
the associations of humanity. Thither we trace our origin, our primitive greatness, our goklen 
age, our ruin, and the first dawnings of redeeming love. Amongst the many suggestions with 
which this chapter is fraught, is the one contained in the text : The moral aspect of the ftenses. 

I. That man requires a boundary for his senses. By prohibiting one tree, God declares that 
there must be a limitation to the gratification of the senses. This is a most important doctrine, 
and fearfully overlooked. But why should the senses be restricted ? 1. Because an undue in- 
fluence of the senses is perilous to the spiritual interests of men. The senses, as servants, are great 

blessings ; as sovereigns, they become great curses. Fleshly lusts " war against the soul." 2. Be- 
cause man lias tlie power of fostering his senses to an undue influence. Unlike the brute, his senses 
are linked to the faculty of imagination. By this he can give new edge and strength to, his 
senses. He can bring the sensual provisions of nature into new comlainations, and thereljy not 
only strengthen old ajjpetites, but create new ones. Thus we find men on all hands becoming 
the mere creatures of the senses — intellect and heart running into flesh. They are carnal. 

II. That man's moral nature is assailable through the senses. Thus Satan here assailed our 
first parents, and won the day. Thus he tempted Christ in tlie wilderness, and thus ever. His 
address is always to the passions. By sensual plays, songs, books, and elements, he rules the 
world. " Lust, when it is finished, bringeth forth sin." This fact is useful for two purposes : — 
1. To caution us against all institutions which aim mainh/ at the gratification of the senses. We 
may rest assured, that Satan is in special connection with these. 2. To caution us against 
making the senses the source of pleasure. It is a proof of the goodness of God that the senses 
yield pleasure ; but it is a proof of depravity when man seeks his chief pleasure in them. 
Man should ever attend to them rather as means of relief thim. as sources of pleasure. He who 
uses them in this latter way, sinks brute-ward. 

III. That man's highest interests have been ruined by the senses. " She took of the fruit." 
Here was the ruin. History teems with similar examples. Esau, the .Tews in the wilderness, 
and David, are striking illustrations. Men's highest interests — of intellect— conscience — soul — 
and eternity — are eveiywhere being ruined by the senses. — (Homilist.) 



Verse 7. It is a great folly in men 
not to foresee evil before it be too late 
to help it. 

Even those who discover not before- 
hand the evils Avhicli the error of their 
ways lead them into, yet they shall in 
the end feel deep misery : — 1. To bring 
them to repentance. 2. To make them 
more watchful in the future. 3. To 
give them a sweeter taste of God's 
mercy. 

Sin is able to make the most ex- 
cellent and glorious ^of all God's crea- 



tures vile and shameful : — 1. It defaces 
the image of God. 2. It separates man 
from God. 3. It disorders all the 
faculties of the soul. 

Men are more apt to be sensible of, 
and to be more affected by, the out- 
ward evils that sin brings upon them, 
than with the sin that causeth them. 

Garments are but the covers of our 
shame : —1. For necessity — to keep off 
injury from the weather. 2. For dis- 
tinction— of sexes — offices — degrees — 
nations. 

61 



JIOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Most of our necessities are brought Sin makes men very knowing in 

upon us by shame. misery. 

Sin makes men fools. Sin strips stark naked of spiritual 

All the care that men take is usually and bodily good, 

to hide their sin rather than to take it Sin is ashamed of itself, 

away. Sin is foolish in its patchings. 

MAIN IIOMILETICS OF THE FARAGILiPH.—Virscs 8—12. 

The Sad ErrECTS of Yielding to Temptation. 

I. That yielding to temptation is generally followed by a sad consciousness 
of physical destitution. " And the eyes of them both W'Cre opened, and they 
knew that they Avere naked ; and they sev/ed fig-leaves together and made 
themselves aprons " (Verse 7). Many a man has thought to enrich himself by 
yielding to the temptations of Satan, he has expected not merely to gain 
knowledge, but also social influence, commercial importance, and political advance- 
ment ; but when the seduction has been accomplished, he has found himself 
poor, and blind, and naked. The best way to be rich is to be honest and good. 
The truest way to be socially influential is to be morally upright. The truest 
joys come to the purest souls. The great tendency of sm is to make men 
physically destitute, destitute of all that constitutes comfort. A sinner is 
exposed without any protecting garment to all tlie bitter experiences of life. 
Sin gives men many more wants than otherwise they would have. Upright 
souls have the fewest wants, and are tlie most independent of the external 
provisions of life. Most of the so-called civilization of nations is the outcome 
of sin, it is the apron of leaves to hide their nakedness. 

II, That a yielding to temptation is generally followed by a grievous 
wandering from God. " And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in 
the garden in the cool of the day : and Adam and his wife hid themselves." 
Adam and Eve had previously to this time held glad communion wdth God their 
Maker, but now they flee from Him. Sin malces men flee from the Inflnite 
Being, and forsake the source of their truest spiritual joy. It introduces an 
element of fear into the soul. It makes men foolish in their attempts to hide 
from God. A forest of trees cannot conceal the grdlty from the eye of heaven. 

1. After yielding to temptation men often wander from God by neglecting prayer. 
.When the fruit of the forbidden tree has been eaten men often begin to neglect 
their secret devotions. They try to banish all thought of God from their minds. 
The soul that holds converse with Satan, cannot long hold communion with God. 

2. After yielding to temptation men often wander from God by neglecting His 
Word. When men have eaten the fruit of the forbidden tree they no longer 
like to read the Book which contains and makes known the restrictions they have 
violated. They are out of sympathy with the Book and its Author. 3. After 
yielding to temptation men often waiuJer from God by increasing profanity of 
life. As the man first looked at the fruit of the forbidden tree, then touched it, 
then eat it ; so now sin is a continued habit with him. He knows no shame. 
He feels no guilt. He responds not to the voice of God. We know not to what 
the first sin may lead. 

III. That a yielding to temptation is generally followed by self vindication. 

"And the man said. The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me 
of the tree and I did eat." 1. We endeavour to vindicate ourselves by blaming 
others. The husband tries to vindicate himself by blaming his wife ; the sister 
by blaming her brother ; the employer by blaming his partner ; the clerk by 
blaming his companion ; and so it seems to be the way of life for one man to 
62 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



excuse himself by rendering otliers cnlpable. (1). litis course of conduct is 
ungrateful. Because all the relationships of life, whether domestic or com- 
mercial, are designed for our happiness. God gave Eve to Adam that she 
might be his companion and helpmeet. What could be more ungrateful than 
for man to charge his sin upon the woman who was designed to be a blessing to 
him, and in effect upon God ? (2). This course of conduct is ungenerous. It 
is ungenerous to our relations. True they are culpable for trying to lead us 
away, but we are more so by yielding ourselves to be influenced by them counter 
to the command of God. We knew tlie right, and are not justitied in blaming 
them because we did the wrong. (3). This course of conduct is unacailing. 
It will not excuse the sinner in the sight of God. It will not mitigate his guilt. 
It will not avert his punishment. It will not amend his doom. Let men 
honourably acknowledge the guilt of their own sin, and not strive to put it on 
tlie Aveaker party. 2. We endeavour to vindicate ourselves hj blaming our 
circumstances. We indicate that our circumstances were unfavourable to our 
moral resistance. That Satan deceived us. That we were taken by surprise. 
Tliat we were morally weak at the time. Man has Divine aid to enable him to 
overcome his circumstances however perplexing they may be. 

IV. That in yielding to temptation we never realize^ the alluring^ promises 
of the devil. 1- Satan 2>yoniised that Adam and Eve should become tvise, 
whereas they became naked. 2. Satan promised that Adam and Eve should 
become gods, whereas they fled from God. 

The Dawn of Guilt. Ver. 7 — 13. 

Here is the dawn of a new era in the history of humanity. The eye of a guilty conscience is 
now ojjoned for the first time, and God and the universe ajDiJeared in new and terrible forms. 
There are three things in this passage which have ever characterised this era of guilt. 

I, A conscious loss of rsctitude. They were " naked." It is moral nudity — nudity of soul — 
of which tliey are conscious. The sinful soul is reiDresented as naked (Rev. iii. 17). Righteous- 
ness is spoken of as a garment (Isa. Ixi. 3). The redeemed are clothed with white raiment. 
There are two things concerning the loss of I'ectitude worthy of notice. 1. Tlicj) deeply felt it. 
Some are destitute of moral righteousness, and do not feel it. 2. TliC[i sought to conceal it. 
Men seek to hide their sins — in religious professions, ceremonies, and the display of outward 
morality. 

II, An alarming dread of God. They endeavour, like Jonah, to flee from the presence of the 
Lord. 1. This wus unnatural. The soul was made to live in close communion with God. All 
its aspirations and faculties show this. 2. 'This was irrational. Tliere is no way of fleeino- from 
omnipresence. Sin blinds the reason of men. 3. This was fruitless. God found Adam out. 
God's voice will reach the sinner into whatever depths of solitude he may pass. 

III, A miserable subterfuge for sin. " The woman," &c. And the woman said, " The serpent 
beguiled me," &c._ What prevarication you have here ! Each transferred the sinful act to the 
wrong cause. It is the essential characteristic of moral mind that it is the cause of its own actions. 
Each must have felt that the act was the act of self. — illomilist.) 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verse 8. The incidents narrated in this and death. 2. They felt their guilt aggravated 
chapter, though inconceivably important, follow by these circumstances. Their consciences were 
each other in rapid succession. Man is here not hardened. Their present feelings and con- 
brought before us — created — holy — fallen— dition were a contrast with the past° In these 
condemned— redeemed. The consequence is, circumstances they fled. They knew of no 
that eacli sentence is unspeakably full of redemption, and could make no ate>nement. 

°" II. The melancholy change of character which 

I, The sense of guilt by which they were had resulted from their fall. 1. Our moral 

oppressed, 1. There were circumstances which attainments are indicated by our views of God 

aggravated their guilt— they knew God— His —progressive. The pure in heart see God. 

fellowship— were perfectly holy— happy — knew Our first parents fell in their conceptions of 

the obligations — knew the consequences of life God — omnipresence. " Whither shall I go," 

G3 



CHAP. III. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



&c. This ignorance of God increased in the 
world with the increase of sin, Rom. i. 21 — 32. 
This ignorance of God is still exemplified. 
" The fool hath said in his heart, there is no 
God." He may worship outwardly ; and 
there are gradations of the foolish — some shxit 
God within religious ordinances— some exclude 
Him. 

III. That they had lost their communion with 
God. 1. One bariier interposed was guilt. 2. 
Another barrier was moi-al pollution. — {Out- 
lines of Discourses by James Steicart.) 

The voice of God pursueth sinners 
after guilt, sometimes inward and 
outward. 

God hath His fit times to visit sinners. 

Conscience hears and trembles at the 
voice of God. 

Sin persuades souls as if it were 
possible to hide from God. 

All carnal shifts will sin make to 
shun God's sight ; if leaves do not hide 
it, the trees must. 

God who hath all the wrong when 
He is provoked by our sins, is the first 
that seeks to make peace with us : — 
1. He allures us by His mercies. 2. By 
the sweet persuasions of His Spirit. 
3. By the ministry of the Gospel. 
God in representing His Majesty to 
men so deals with them that he may 
humble but not confound them. God 
many times calls men to account, and 
proceeds in judgment against them in 
the midst of their delights. A guilty 
conscience is filled with terror, on every 
occasion Ave have no better refuge than 
to turn from sin to God. — ( Traj^p.) 

Verse 9. Satan's lie only gave occa- 
sion for the display of the full truth 
in reference to God. Creation never 
could have brought out what God was. 
There W'as infinitely more in Him than 
power and wisdom. There was love, 
mercy, holiness, righteousness, good- 
ness, tenderness, long suffering. Where 
could all these be clisplayed but in a 
world of sinners ? God at the first, 
came down to create ; and, then, when 
the serpent presumed to meddle with 
creation, God came down to save. 
This is brought out in the first words 
uttered by the Lord God after man's 
fall, " And the Lord God called unto 
Adam, and said unto him, where art 
thou ?" This question proved two 
64 



things. It proved that man was lost, 
and that God had come to seek. It 
l^roved man's sin, and God's grace. 
" Where art thou ?" Amazing faith- 
fulness ! Amazing grace ! Faithfulness, 
to disclose, in the very question itself, 
the truth as to man's condition in 
grace, to bring out, in the very fact of 
God's asking such a question, the truth 
as to His character and attitude, in 
reference to fallen man. Man was lost ; 
but God had come down to look for 
him — to bring him out of his hiding- 
place, behind the trees of the garden, 
in order that, in the happy confidence 
of faith, he might find a hiding-place 
in Himself This was grace. But who 
can utter all that is wrapped up in the 
idea of God's being a seeker?- God 
seeking a sinner ? What could the 
Blessed One have seen in man, to lead 
him to seek for him. Just what the 
sheijherd saw in the lost sheep ; or 
what the woman saw in the lost piece 
of silver ; or what the father saw in 
the lost son. The sinner is valuable 
to God ; but why he should be so, 
eternity alone will unfold. {Notes on 
Genesis, C.H.M.) 

The way to get our hearts affected 
with what we hear, is to apprehend 
ourselves to be spoken unto in par- 
ticular. 

God loves a free and voluntary ac- 
knowledgment of sin from his children 
when they have sinned against him. 

God is full of mildness and gentle- 
ness in his dealings with offenders, even 
in their greatest sins. 

All who desire to get out of their 
misery, must seriously consider what 
was the means that brought them 
into it. 

Jehovah may suffer sinners to abuse 
His goodness, but he will call them to 
judgment. 

God is not ignorant of the hiding 
places of sinners. 

The Wandeker from God, 

I, Where is man? 1. Distant from 
God. 2. Ju terror of God. 3. In 
delusion about God. 4. In danger 
from God. 



HOMILETia COMMENTARY: GENEStS. 



CHAP. Ill; 



II. God's concern for him. 1. His 

co)idltlo)i involves evil — God is holy. 
2. Ills condition involves suffering — 
God is love. 

III. God's dealings with him. 1. In 
the aggregate — '' Adam," the genus. 
2. Personalhj. " Where art thou ? " 
\Pulpit Germs, by Wi/t/ie]. 

Verse 10. All men are apt to colour 
and conceal all that they can even from 
God Himself. 

One sin commonly draws on another : 
— 1. The first sin weakens the heart. 
2. Sins are usually fastened to each 
other. 3. God punishes one sin with 
another. 

God's word is terrible to a guilty 
conscience. 

It is a hard matter to get men to 
confess any more of their guilt than is 
self-evident. 

Sinners pretend their fear rather 
than their guilt to drive them from 
God. 

Sinners pretend their punishment 
rather than their crime to cause them 
to hide. 

How hard it is to luring a soul to the 
true acknowledgment of sin. 

Verse 11. The more sinners hide 
the more God sifteth them. 

It is worth knowing by every man 
what discovers sin and shame. God 
therefore puts the question to Adam, 



to turn him to his own conscience, 
which told all God Avill bring sinners 
to a sense of sin before he leaves tliem, 
" Hast thou eaten ? " : — 1. God's com- 
mand aggravates sin. 2. God's small 
restriction aggravates sin. 3. God's 
provision of mercy aggravates sin. 

Man's frowardness cannot overcome 
God's love and patience. 

God can easily, without any evi- 
dence, convince men by themselves. 

God accepts no concession till men 
see and acknowledge their sin. 

Men must be dealt with in plain 
terms before they will be brought to 
acknowledge their sin. 

A breach of God's commandment is 
that which makes any act of ours a sin. 

Verse 12. When men's sins are so 
manifest that they cannot deny them, 
they will yet labour by excuses to ex- 
tenuate them. 

Men may easily by their own folly 
turn the means ordained by God for 
their good into snares for their de- 
struction. 

Sin is impudent to reply against 
God's conviction. 

Sinners convicted, and not converted, 
are shifting of guilt from them- 
selves. 

God beareth long with the prevari- 
cations of sinners. 

It was offensive to God that the 
woman should draw the man to sin. 



MAIX HOMILETWS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 13—21. 

The General Results of the Fall of our First Parents. 

I. The result of the fall of our first parents is an eternal enmity between 
Satan and humanity. " And the Lord God said unto the serpent, because thou 
hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every boast of tlie 
field : upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy 
life ; and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed 
and her seed." We observe :— 1. That this curse ivas uttered in reference to 
Satan. It is true that the serpent is here addressed, but merely as the instru- 
ment of the evil spirit. The punishment which came upon an irrational animal 
was symbolical of that permitted to Satan. Each became the object of a 
contempt which should be perpetual. That this language is used in reference 
to Satan is evident from the fact that the human race should triumph over the 
serpent which indication would have been unneedful had it merely referred to 
the reptile rather than the devil. Tiius we learn that the agents of Satan are 
neither free from guilt or punishment. 2. We observe that this address is 

G G5 



HO MI LET IC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



different from that made to Adam and Eve. God said to Adam, " Hast thou 
eaten of the tree ; " and to Eve, " What is it that thou hast done ? " But to 
Satan he puts no interrogation. And why ? Because heaven knew that it Avas 
impossible for hell to repent, whereas man would be able under the proclamation 
of Divine mercy, to confess his sin and to receive forgiveness. The misery of 
Satan is irretrievable. For the sin of man there is provided a Divine remedy 
which he is urged to obtain. The questionings of God are merciful in their 
intention. Let us therefore penitently respond to them. 3. We observe that 
there ivas to commence a severe enmity and conflict hetireen tSatan, and the 
human race. The serpent was no longer even the apparent friend of Adam and 
Eve, but tlieir open enemy. Their recognized foe. The enmity of hell toward 
earth is well defined in God's word. It is thoroughly illustrated by the moral 
history of mankind. (1) This enmity has existed Jrom the early ages of the 
world's history. Its rage and ruin were co-existent with the progenitors of the 
race, and Avas directed against their moral happiness and enjoyment. It did 
not commence in any after period of the world's history, and consequently not 
one individual has ever been exempt from its attack. (2) This enmity is 
seeking the destruction of the higher interests of man. It does not seek merely 
to injure the mental and physical sources of life, but the spiritual and eternal. 
It seeks to rob man of moral goodness, and of his bright inheritance beyond the 
grave. It endeavours to defile his soul. (3) This enmity is inspired by the 
most diabolical jMssion. It is not inspired by a mere love of mischief and ruin, 
not by a desire to have a gay sport Avitli the welfare of man, but by a dire and 
all-con(j[ueriiig passion for his eternal destruction. This points to unremitting 
activity on the part of Satan. To inconceivable cunning. 2. This enmity, 'while 
it tvill injiict injury, is subject to the ultimate conquest of man. The serpent 
may bruise the heal of humanity, but humanity shall certainly bruise his head. 
Satan will be defeated in the conflict. His power is limited. Instance Job. 
Christ is his eternal conqueror, in Him the seed of the woman struck its most 
terrible blow. Thus the fall of our first parents has exposed humanity to the 
fierce antagonism of Satan. But this may be for our moral good, as the conflict 
has brought a Divine conqueror to our aid, it renders necessary — and may 
develop energies Avhich shall lend force and value to our characters, and which 
otherwise Avould have remained eternally latent. 

II. The result of the fall of our first parents is the sorrow and subjection 
of female life. 1. The sorrotv of ivoman consequent upon the fall. "Unto 
the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception ; in 
sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." The combined command and blessing 
had been previously given, that the first pair Avere to be fruitful and multiply ; 
but in innocency the propagation of their species Avas to be painless. This 
is reversed by their fall. The AA'oman is to bring forth her progeny in sorroAv. 
Sin is the cause of the Avorld's physical suffering. This arrangement evinces 
the grand principle of vicarious suffering in human life. 2. The sid)jection oj 
woman consequent upon the fcdl. "And he shall rule over thee." Eve had 
been guilty of insubordination, she had broken from the man to listen to the 
serpent, hence her punishment Avas adapted to her indiscretion. Women are 
to be subject to their husbands. This is the laAV of God. This is the ordi- 
nation of physical life and energy. And any man Avho alloAA's his Avife to 
habitually rule him reverses the laAv of God, and the curse of the fall. But man's 
rulership is nut to be lordly and offensive, but loving and graceful, thoughtful 
and appreciative. Under such a rulership the Avoman is a queen, herself the 
sharer of a royal life. These are the true rights of Avoman. If true to herself 
she Avants no others. 3. IVte subjection of ivoman consequent upon the fall gives 
no countenance to the degrading manner in ivhich she is treated in heathen 
66 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY; GENESIS. 



countries. Man is not to crush a woman into a slave. He is not to regard 
her as his servant. She is his companion and helpmeet. Missions have done 
nnich for the social and moral elevation of woman. 

III. The result of the fall of our first parents is the anxious toil of man, and 
the comparative unproductiveness of his labour. 1. 77ie anxious and iminfal 
toil of man consequent upon the fall. Some people imagine that work is the 
result of the fall, and that if our first parents had retained their innocence all 
men would have been born independent gentlemen ! This may be a nice dream for 
the idle, but it is far from fact. Adam worked before he yielded to tempta- 
tion, he tilled and kept the garden. But then there was no anxiety, peril, or 
fatigue associated with his daily efforts. The element of pain which is now 
infused into work is the result of the fall, but not the work itself Work 
was the law of innocent manhood. It is the happiest law of life. Men who 
rebel against it do not truly live, they only exist. All the accidents of which 
we read, and all the strife between capital and labour, and all that brings grief to 
the human heart connected with work, is a consequence of the fall. The excited 
brain should remind of a sinful heart. 2. The comparatim unproductiveness 
of the soil consequent upon the fall. The ground was cursed through Adam's 
sin, and he was to gather and eat its fruits in sorrow all his life. By allowing 
Eve to lead him astray Adam had, for the moment, given up his rulership of 
creation, and, therefore, henceforth nature will resist his will. The earth no 
longer yields her fruits spontane(jusly, but only after arduous and protracted toil. 
The easy dressing of the garden was now to merge into anxious labour to 
secure its produce. Demons Avere not let loose upon the earth to lay it waste. 
The earth became changed in its relation to man. It became wild and rugged. 
It became decked with poisonous herbs. Its harvests were slow and often 
unfruitful. Storms broke over its peaceful landscapes. Such an effect has sin 
upon the material creation. 3. The sad departure of man from the earth bif 
death consequent upon the fall. How long innocent man would have continued 
in this world, and how he would have been finally conveyed to heaven are idle 
speculations. But certain it is that sin destroyed the moral relationship of the 
soul to God, and introduced elements of decay into the physical organism of man. 
Hence after the fall he began his march to the grave. That man did not die 
immediately after the committal of the sin, is a tribute to the redeeming mercy 
of God. Sin always means death. Sin and death are twin sisters. 

IV. The grand and merciful interposition of Jesus Christ was rendered neces- 
sary by the fall of our first parents. Man had fled from God. He could 
not bring himself back again. Man had polluted his moral nature by sin. He 
could not cleanse it. The serpent's head had to be bruised. Death had to be 
abolished. God only could send a deliverer. Here commenced the remedial 
scheme of salvation. An innocent man would not have needed mercy, but a 
sinful man did. Hence the promise, type, symbol, the incarnation, the cross, 
the resurrection and ascension, all designed by the infinite love of God to repair 
the moral woe of Eden's ruin. Lessons : 1. The terrible influence of sin upon 
an individual life. 2. The infl^uence of sin upon the great communities of the 
icorld. 3. The severe devastation of sin. 4. The love of God the great healing 
influence of the ivorld's sorrow. 5. Ifoiv henignantly God blends hope with penalty. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verses 13, 14. No actor in any sin of tlie unbelief, rebellion, and apostasy 
can escape God's discovery : — I.Adam of man. 

is found out. 2. Eve is found out. The worst of curses hath God laid 

3. The serpent is found out. upon the old serpent, and that irrevo- 

God looks upon Satan as the author cably. 

67 



CHAP. HI, 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Cod's curse upon the old serpent 
brings a blessing upon man. 

God from the fall of man provided 
a way for saving some from the devil. 

The promised seed had his heel 
bruised in killing the serpent's head. 
It was by His own dying, though He 
rose again. 

Redemption is of free grace, and 
comes from God's promise. 

Such grace binds to enmity with 
Satan and love to God, 

Bruising the Head op Evil ; or, 
THE Mission of Christianity. 

Verse 15. That there are two grand op- 
posing moral forces at work in the world, " the 
seed of the woman and the seed of the ser- 
pent," is manifest from the following considera- 
tions : — 1. I'he aniversal hdkfi of manhlnd. 
All nations believe in two antagonistic prin- 
ciples. 2. The i^henomena of the moral icorld. 
The thoughts, actions, and conduct of men are 
so radically different that they must be referred 
to two distinct moral forces. 3. The experience 
of f/ood men. 4. The declaration of the Blhle. 
Now in this conflict, whilst error and evil only 
strike at the mere " heel " of truth and good- 
ness, truth and goodness sti-ike right at the 
" head." Look at this idea in three aspects : — 

I. As a characteristic of Christianity. Evil 
has a "head" and its "head" is not in 
theories, or institutions, or outward conduct ; 
but in the moral feelings. In the likes and 
dislikes, the sympathies and antipathies of the 
heart. Now it is against this "head " of evil 
that Christianity, as a system of reform, directs 
its blows. It does not seek to lop off the 
branches from the mighty upas, but to destroy 
its roots. It does not strike at the mere forms 
of murder, adultery, and theft ; but at their 
spirit, anger, lust, and covetousness. This its 
characteristic. 

II. As a test of individual Christianity. Un- 
less Christianity has bruised the very " head " 
of evil within us it has done nothing to the 
purpose. 1. It may bruise certain erroneous 
ideas, and yet be of no service to you. 2. It 
may bruise certain icrong habits, and yet be 
of no real service to you. 

III. As a guide in propagating Christianity. 
The gi-eat failure of the Church in its world- 
reforming mission may be traced to the wrong 
direction of its efforts [Ilomilid]. 

Study the records of the Word. It 
is the history of the long war between 
the children of light and " the power 
of darkness." You will see that Satan 
has tried every weapon of the armoury 
of hell. He has no other in reserve. 
But all have failed. They cannot rise 
G8 



higher than the heel. The head is safe 
with Christ in God. Mark, too, how a 
mightier hand guides his blows to 
wound himself. Satan's kingdom is 
made to totter under Satan's assaults. 
He brought in sin, and so the door flew 
open for the Gospel. He persecutes 
the early converts, and tlie truth 
speeds rapidly abroad throughout the 
world. He casts Paul into the dungeon 
of Philippi, and the gaoler believes, 
with all his house. He sends him a 
prisoner to Rome, and epistles gain 
wings to teach and comfort all the ages 
of the Church [Archdeacon Law]. 

Verses 15 — 19. I. Some important 
transactions related. 1. T//e trans- 
gression irliich had been committed. 
2. The scrutiny instituted. 3. The 
sentence pronounced. 

II. The gracious intimations of the 
Text. 1. Litihuttions of mercy. 2. Of 
the mode of mercy. 3. Our cause for 
gratitude. 4. Occasions for fear. 
[Shtches of Sermons by Wesleyan 
Ministers]. 

Man's salvation is Satan's grief and 
vexation. 

God's indignation is never so much 
kindled against the wicked, that He 
forgets His mercy toward His own. 

God directs and turns the malice of 
Satan to the service of the good. 

God will strengthen the weakest of 
His servants against Satan. 

The greatness of man's sin is no bar 
to God's mercy. 

God's means extend to future pos- 
terity. 

Enmity and malice against good men 
is an evident mark of the child of tlie 
devil. 

Christ the woman's seed : — 1. Made 
under the law. 2. Became a curse for 
us. 3. Joined us to God. 4. Con- 
quered Satan. 

Verse 16. Though God has through 
Christ remitted to his children the sen- 
tence of death, yet He has not freed 
them from the afflictions of this life. 

All the afflictions of this life have 
mercy mixed with them. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



CHAP, III. 



It is the duty of the wife to be subject 
to the will aud direction of her hus- 
band : — 1. There must be an order in 
society. 2. The woman was created 
for man. 3. She was first in trans- 
gression. 4. Man has the best abilities 
for government. 

Womanly obedience : — 1. Presented 
by God. 2. Easy for her. 3. Safe for 
her. 4. Ennobling to her. 

Womanly subjection consists : — 1. In 
outward obedience. 2. In the inward 
affection of the heart. 3. In thought- 
ful service. 

Order in sin has an order in punish- 
ment. The woman is sentenced before 
the man. 

Verse 17. Single account must be 
given by every creature for single sins. 
God takes one by one. 

God Himself giveth judgment upon 
every sinner. 

Man's excuse of sin may prove the 
greatest aggravation to the woman. 

It is a sad aggravation of sin that it 
is committed against God. 

The expressness of God's law doth 
much aggravate sin against it. 

Sin brings all evil upon creatures, 
and makes them instruments to punish 
man. 

All the creatures of the earth are 
under Divine command. 

The short pleasure of sin draws after 
it a long punishment. 

Verse 18. Thorns and thistles are 
the issues of sin. 

As we are more or less serviceable to 
God, so we may expect creatures to bo 
more or less useful to us. 

Sin makes the course of man labo- 
rious and painful. 

God remembers Avi-etched man and 
allows him some bread though he de- 
serves none. 

Man's travail ends not but in the 
grave. 

Verse 19. — "Bust thou art, and nnto dust 
shah thou return." How dreadful — how rapid 
— is the havoc of sin. A few chapters pre- 
ceding man was wise — holy — now the crown is 
fallen we are all impHcated (Heb. ix. 27). 

I. The frailty of our Nature. 1. Its origin. 



However glorious our Maker, however ex- 
quisite the humau body, God made that body 
of the dust of the earth. 2. Its UabiUtij to 
injiirij. No sooner born than fierce diseases 
wait to attack us. If not destroyed — injured 
— accidents. All the elements attack iis. 

3. Its tendency to dissolution. Behold the 
ravages of time. Human life has its spring, 
summer, autumn, and winter. ( Ps. ciii. 1 4 — 1 5 ; 
xc. 5 — 6 ; xxxix. 4 — 5. 

II. The certainty of our end. 1. Wc are 

horn to die. Our first breath is so much of 
nature exhausted. The first hour we live is an 
approach to death. 2. The i^erpetual exit of 
mortals confii'ms it. 3. God hath decreed it. 

4. Learn rigidly to estimate life, (Sketches of 
four hundred sermons.) 

I. Man's Origin. 1, Ilowivonderful. 2. IIoiv 
humhlin'j. 

II. Man's Doom. 1. Inevitable. 2. Just. 

3. Partial. 4. Temporary. (Scrnionic Germs 
ly Wythe.) 

There is profit in all the duties 
which God enjoineth us. The dispo- 
sing of man's life is in God's hand. 

Verse 20 — 21. — It is fit in giving 
names to make choice of such as may 
give us something for our instruction. 
The very clothes we wear are God's 
provision. Necessary provision is as 
much as we can look for from God's 
hand : — 1. For health. 2. For em- 
ployment. 3. For possession. Our 
clothes are for the most part borrowed 
from other creatures. 

In the midst of death God's thought 
has been to direct the sinner unto life. 

God's goodness prevented sin from 
turning all man's relations into dis- 
order. 

Grace makes the same instruments 
be for life, which were for death. 

God pities his creatures in the 
nakedness made by sin. 

God makes garments where sin makes 
nakedness. 

The mischief of sin is to forget 
nakedness under fine clothes. 

A gracious providence puts clothes 
on the backs of sinners. 

The guilty clothed :—l. By God. 
2. With priceless robe. 3. For shelter. 

4. For happiness. 

We have here, in figure, the great 
doctrine of divine righteousness set 
forth. The robe which God provided 
was an effectual covering because He 
provided it ; just as the apron was an 

69 „ 



CHAP. III. IIOMlLETia COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



ineffectual covering beccause man liad sinner may feel perfectly at rest, when, 

provided it. Moreover, God's coat by faith, he knows that God lias 

was founded upon blood - shedding, clothed him : but to feel at rest, till 

Adam's apron was not. So also, now, then, can only be the result of pre- 

God's righteousness is set forth in the sumption or ignorance. To know that 

cross ; man's righteousness is set forth the dress I wear, and in which I ap- 

in the works, the sin stained works, of pear before God, is of His own pro- 

his own hands. When Adam stood viding, must set my heart at perfect 

clothed in the coat of skin he could rest. There can be no permanent rest 

not say, "I was naked,"_ nor had he in aught else. — (C.EJI.) 
any occasioii to hide himself. The 

MAIN IIOMILETWS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 22-24. 

The Expulsion of Man from Eden. 
Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden teaches : — 

I. That when comforts are likely to be abused, God sends men from them. 

There was danger least Adam should put forth his hand and eat of the "tree of 
life " and live for ever. The fallen man must not be allowed to eat of the tree 
of life in this world. It can only be tasted by him in the resurrection ; to live 
for ever in a frail body would be an unmitigated woe. There are many trees of 
life in the world from which God has to drive men, because they are not in a 
proper condition to make the designed use of them. Government and law must 
be preventive as well as punitive, they must regard the future as well as the 
past. It is better for a man to be driven from a mental, moral, or social good 
than that he sliould make a bad use of it. Many a soul has lost its Eden by 
making a bad use of good things. 

II. That it is not well that a sinner should live and reside in the habitation 
of innocence. Adam and Eve were out of harmony with the purity and beauty 
of Eden. Such an innocent abode would not furnish them with the toil 
rendered necessary by their new condition of life. ]\Ien ought to have a 
sympathy with the place in which they reside. Only pure men should live in 
Eden. Society should drive out the impure from its sacred garden. Commerce 
should expel the dishonest from its benevolent enclosure. Let the wicked go 
to their own place in this life. A wicked soul will be far happier out of Eden 
than in it. Heaven will only allow the good to dwell within its w'alls. 

III. That sin always causes men to be expelled from their truest enjoyments. 

Sin expels men from their Edens. It expels from the Eden of a pure and noble 
manhood. It drives the monarch from his palace into exile. It exchanges 
innocence for shame ; plenty for Avant ; the blessing of God into a curse ; and 
fertility into barrenness. It makes the world into a prison-house. It often 
happens that when men want to gain more than they legitimately can, that 
they lose that which they already possess. In trying to become gods, men often 
lose their Edens. Satan robs men of their choicest possessions and of their 
sweetest comforts. This expulsion was (1). Deserted. (2). Preventice. (3). 
Pitiable. 

IV. That though expelled from Eden man's life is yet beset with blessings. 

Though the cherubim and the flaming sword closed up the way to Paradise, 
Christ had opened a new and living way into the holy place. Christ is now 
the " way " of man — to purity — to true enjoyment — to heaven. Heaven 
substitutes one blessing for another. 
70 



HO 211 LET IC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verse 22-24. Jehovah is the dis- 
poser of all places and conditions ; he 
sends in and pnts out. 

The cursed earth is the sinner's place 
of correction. 

God has separated sin from pleasure. 
Sin is out of Paradise. 

Terrible are the means by which God 
drives sinners from their pleasures. 

God sometimes withholds blessings 
for our good. 

When men have once committed sin, 
they are in danger of any other. 

The surest way to prevent sin is to 
keep men from the allurements to it. 

God cannot allow the defiling of His 
ordinances by such as have no right 
to them. 

God likes to leave monuments both 
of His mercies and judgments. 

The Plan or P\.edemption Exhibited 
AT Eden. 

By .some it has been thought that the plan 
of redemption began to be unfolded in Eden 
in that symbolical appearance recorded in our 
text, receiving, as time rolled on, fuller de- 
velopment and additional illustration, until it 
was clearly set forth in the Saviour's mission. 

I. The event here recorded. The expulsion 
of man from Paradise. 1. It was not forcible. 
The wording of the sentence would certainly 
lead us to infer the contrarj', but we can 
scarcely suj^pose that the unwilling-ness of 
Adam to leave Eden would manifest itseK in 
rebellious opposition, so as to induce coercive 
measures ; besides, we may infer from the 
entire narrative, that he had been brought by 
this time to penitence. 2. Neither are ve to 
suppose that this event occurred laerebj as a 
carrying out of the curse which had been ^n'o- 
noimced. The sin of Adam no doubt was the 
ground of this exclusion, Ijut the principal 
reason was, that access to the tree of life might 
be denied him. By this he was taught the 
full consequence of his sin. 



II. The transaction that followed. " And he 
placed at the east of the garden," &c. The 
general mind associates with this statement, 
the idea of ^\Tath ; the popular notion being, 
that an angel with a flaming sword in hand, 
stood in the entrance of Eden, to prevent any 
approach to the tree of life. That such cannot 
be its impi:)rt might be inferred from the general 
tenor of the narrative ; in several instances, 
while Adam was yet in the garden, the mercy 
of God was especially manifested to him, and 
we cannot suppose that after his exclusion, 
there would be less mercy. To us it appears 
as an illustration of the recent promise of the 
Redeemer. 1. What is the Scripture significa- 
tion of the term "Cheruhim /" (Ezek. i. 22, x. 1.) 
(Rev. iv. 6.) The cherubim of paradise same 
as these. In Ezekiel, and in all the passages 
which refer to the subject, we have the idea 
that God dwelt with the cherubim ; we are 
also told that the appearance of the cherubim 
was that of a man ; so that one great truth 
taught at Eden might be, that the seed of the 
woman, who would open the way to the tree 
of life, would be God dwelling with the flesh. 
2. ]]liat ivas the faming sword ?■ Critics tell 
lis that the word rendered "flaming sword," 
might be rendered " the fire of wrath." Allow 
that the institution at Eden and the vision of 
Ezekiel represent the same appearance, and we 
have a key to the expression, "flaming sword." 
In the vision of Ezekiel there was a fire un- 
folding, or turning back upon itself ; and the 
hving creatures, with the likeness of a man, were 
in the midst of the fire. In the text, the sword 
of flame is said to have turned every wa}', but 
this would be better rendered " turning back 
on itself ;" so that the great truth here taught 
was, that the fire of wrath, which had been 
kindled by transgression, instead of burning 
out to consume man, would turn back and 
expend itself on " God manifest in the flesh." 

III. The design of this transaction. 1. One 

great end was to teach the princiiiles of re- 
demption. 2. To keeji the divinely-appointed 
way to eternal life in remembrance. 3. That 
it might serve as a temple of worship. It was 
to this " presence of the Lord " that the ante- 
diluvian patriarch came — from which Cain was 
driven. Here sacrifices were off'ored, as ex- 
pressions of faith in this way of reconcihation. 
— [Sketches of Sermons bj Wcslcyan Ministers.) 



ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER III, 



REV. WM. ADAMSON. 



Death ! Vv. 1—7. A heathen exercised 
his genius in the formation of a goblet, in the 
liottom of which he fixed a serpent, whose 
model he had made. Coiled for the spring, a 
pair of gleaming eyes in its head, and in its 
open mouth fangs raised to strike, it lay 
beneath the ruby wine. As Guthrie says : Be 



assured that a serpent lurks at the bottom of 
guilt's sweetest pleasure : — • 

" One drop of wisdom is far better 
Than pleasm'es in whole bottomless abysses : 
For sense's fool must wear remorse's fetter, 
When duty's servant reigns where endless 

bliss is." — Oriental. 

71 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Sin! Vv. 1 — 7. Anthony Burgess says 
that sin is a Delilah, a sweet passion tickling 
while it stabs. Eve saw that the tree was 
pleasant to the eye, and from its fragrance 
likely to be good for food, a delicious morsel. 
Dr. Cuyler forcibly illustrates this by reference 
to the Judas tree. The blossoms appear before 
the leaves, and they are of a brilliant crimson. 
The flaming beauty of the flowers attracts 
innumeralile insects ; and the wandering bee 
is drawn after it to gather honoy. But every 
bee which alights upon the blossom, imbibes a 
fatal opiate, and drops dead from among the 
crimson flowers to the earth. Well may it be 
said that beneath this tree the earth is strewn 
with the victims of its fatal fascinations : Yet 

" ' How can it be,' say they, ' that such a thing. 
So full of sweetness, e'er should wear a sting 'i ' 
They know not that it is the very spell 
Of sin, to make men laugh themselves to hell." 

Open Eyes I Vv. 1 — 7. Sometime ago 
passengers in the streets of Paris were attracted 
to the figure of a woman on the parapet of a 
roof in that city. She had fallen asleep in the 
afternoon, and under the influence of somnam- 
bulism had stepped out of an open window on 
to the edge of the house. There she was 
walking to and fro to the horror of the gazers 
below, who expected eveiy moment to witness 
a false step and terrible fall. They dared not 
shout, lest by awakening her inopportunely 
they should be'only hastening on the inevitable 
calamity. But this came soon enough ; for 
moving, as somnambulists do, with open eyes, 
the reflection of a lamp lit in an opposite 
window by an artisan engaged in some me- 
chanical operation, all unconscious of what was 
going on outside, aroused her from sleep. The 
moment her eyes were opened to discover the 
perilous position in which she had placed her- 
self, she tottered, fell, and was dashed below. 
Such is the sleep of sin ; it places the soul on 
the precipice of jjeril, and when the spell is 
broken it leaves the sinner to fall headlong 
into the gulf of woe. Thus — 

" No thief so vile nor treacherous as sin. 
Whom fools do hug, and take such pleasure in." 

Nakedness ! Vv. 1—7. Their eyes were 
opened to see that they were not what they 
had been before. And we come to the 
H&me conclusion as we survey ourselves, that 
man is not the same creatin-e with which God 
crowned the glorious work of creation. Theie 
is moral nakedness. He is like a creature of 
the air which a cruel hand has stripped of its 
silken wings. How painfully he resembles 
this hapless object which has just fallen on 
the pages of a book that we read by the 
candle on an autumn evening ! It retains the 
wish, but is conscious that it has lost the jiower 
to fly :- 

Soul, thou art fallen from thine ancient place, 
Mayest thou in this mean world find nothing 

great, 
72 



Nor ought that shall the memories efface 
Of that true greatness which was once thine 
own.'' — Trench. 

Watchfulness ! Ver. 1. I have read of 
a monarch that, lieing jjursued by the enemy, 
threw away the crown of gold on his head, in 
order that he might run the faster. So, that 
sin, which thou dost wear as a crown of gold, 
throw it away, that thou maj^est run the faster 
to tlie kingdom of heaven. Oh ! if you would 
not lose glory be on your goiard, mortify the 
beloved sin ; set it as Uriah in the forefront 
of the battle to be slain. By jjlucking out 
this right eye you shall see the better to go 
to heaven. By cutting off this right arm you 
will be the more prei)ared for Satan. In such 
case you may confidently expect aid, for — 

"Behind the dim unknown, 
Standeth trod within the shadow, keeping 
watch above His own." — Lowell. 

Conditions! Ver. 1. No man is truly 
prosperous whose mortality is forfeited. No 
man is rich to whom the grave brings eternal 
banla'uptcy. No man is happy on whose path 
there rests but a momentary glimmer of light 
shining out between clouds that are closing 
over him for ever. Satan makes many pro- 
mises, but his conditions are equally numerous 
— and vastly more serious than his j^romises 
are precious. 'Jlie Lord's temptation in the 
wilderness : Fall down and worship me ! Ye 
shall be as gods ! Such are the promise and 
condition — the one false, because the other 
devilish. His promises allure, and if we do not 
consider the conditions, the chances are against 
our resistance. 

" Tlie simple boy — far from his father's care, 

Is well nigh taken with the gilded snare." 

— Holmes. 

Association! Ver. 2. Evil communica- 
tions corrupt good manners ! One day Robert's 
father saw him playing with some boys who 
were rude and immannerly. In the evening 
he brought from the garden six rosy-cheeked 
apples, put them on a i)late, and presented 
them to his son, who was much pleased, and 
thanked his father. " But you must lay them 
aside for a few days that they may becomo 
mellow." This was done, his father at the 
same time placing a seventh apple, which was 
quite rotten. To this the boy demurred on 
the ground that the decayed fruit would spoil 
all the others ; but the father remarked : 
" Why should not the fresh apples make the 
rotten ones fresh ;" Eight days afterwards the 
apijles were broiight f(jrth — all of them equally 
decayed ; whereupon Robert reminded his 
father of what he had said. " My boy, have I 
not told you often that bad companions will 
make you bad ? See in the condition of the 
apples what will happen to you if you keep 
company with the wicked." Exactly so was it 
with Satan. Eve held intercourse Avith him, 
but did not make him better : — 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



" The tempting fruit outspread before her eyes, 
Filled her with rapture and complete surprise ; 
Nor hidden dangers will she wait to see, 
But onward hastens to the fatal tree." 

Dread of Sin I Ver. 3. Holy fear is the 
door-keeper of the soitI. As a noljleman's 
porter stands at the door and keeps out 
vagrants, so the fear of God stands and keeps 
all sinful temptations from entering. And if 
we only learn to fear God— i.e., to stand in 
awe and sin not — in the right way, we .shall 
learn at the same time never to fear anything 
else. The righteous are bold as a lion. 

" Fear Him, ye saints, and ye will then 
Have nothing else to fear." 

Contamination ! Ver. 4. In Adam all 
die. As the electric shock passes through the 
frames of all who are linked hand in hand, so 
passed the shock of sin's magnetic power of 
death through all the human race. As the 
poison imbibed by the lips flows through every 
vein of the Ijody — penetrating its every vital 
part till death ensues, so the sin committed liy 
our first parents has flashed its virus througli 
every member of the human race : — 

" One little sin that mystic cup did fill, 
And yet it poured on, and pourcth still 
The talntinrj horrors of all pain and ill." 

— A J(jcr. 

Indecision ! Ver. 4. Some months ago, 
.says a New York \vriter, I met a young Eng- 
lishwoman who came to this city to maiTy a 
young man to whom she had been betrothed 
in England, and who had come to this country 
two years pi-evious to engage in business. She 
was to marry him at the home of a friend of 
her mother's with whom she was staying. 
During the time she was making iip her wed- 
ding outfit, he came to see her one evening 
when he was just drunk enough to be foolish. 
She was shocked and pained beyond measure. 
She afterwards learned that he was in the habit 
of drinking to excess. She immediately stopped 
her preparations, and told him she could not 
marry him. He protested that she wovild 
drive him to distraction ; promised never to 
driidc another drop, &c. " No," said the young- 
maiden, " I dare not trust my future happiness 
to a drunkard. I came 3,000 miles, and I will 
return 3,000 miles." And she did. Had Eve 
but said : " No, I will not trust my future 
happiness to a maligner of God ; get thee 
hence, Satan " — how different would this once 
fair WDiid be now at this distant date ! Yield 
to no offer, however tempting, which depends 
on, or is allied with, dishonoin- to God, dis- 
obedience to His statutes, or destructive to our 
immortal welfare. 

" See yon tall shaft ; it felt the earthquake's 
thriU, 
Clung to its base, and greets the sunrise still" 
— Wendell. 

Gods! Ver. 5. If we are to credit the 



annals of the Russian empire, there once existed 
a noble order of merit, which was greatly 
coveted by the princes and noblesse. It was, 
however, confen-ed only on the peculiar fa- 
vourites of the Czar, or on the distinguished 
heroes of the kingdom. Bixt another class 
shared in its honour in a very questional^le 
form. Those nobles or favourites who either 
became a burden to the Czar or who stood in 
his way, received this decoration only to die. 
The pin-point Avas tijiped with poison — and 
when the order was being fastened on the 
breast by the imjierial messenger, the flesh of 
the person was acrid cvtaUii {tricked. Death 
ensued, as next morning the individual so 
highly honoured with imperial favour, was 
found dead in bed from apojjlexy. Satan 
offered to confer a brilliant decoration upon 
Adam and Eve ; Ye shall be as Gods. It was 
poisoned : the wages of sin is death. As 
Bunyan says, look to thyself, then, keep it out 
of doors. 

" 'Tis like the panther, or the crocodile, 
It seems to love, and promises no wile, 
It hides its sting, seems harmless as a dove ; 
It hugs the soul, and hates when 't vows 
most love." 

Vain Regrets! Ver. 7. A pointsman was 
on duty somewhere in America. The express 
was due ; but instead of turning the points as 
he ought, and as day after day for many years 
he had done, he neglected "his duty — the train 
rushed past in safety, as the engine-driver, 
guard, and passengers supposed. Alas ! not so. 
In less time than you can read it all was a 
hopeless ■\^Teck, and not one of all that member 
in the train survived. And what of the poor 
pointsman, who that once (perhaps the only 
time) had neglected his duty i He rushed from 
the spot a hopeless maniac, and his incessant 
cry since that terrible event has been, " Oh ! if 

I only had !" Nothing else has he said since ; 
ami probably for years to come that one sen- 
tence will ring through the I'oom of the asylum 
where he is now confined. 

" By the dark shape of Avhat he is, serene 
Stands the bright ghost of what he might 
have been." — Lyttoti. 

Prayer ! Ver. S. Had Adam and Eve 
but hearkened to the pleading voice of their 
King ! Had they but cast themselves in con- 
trition at the feet of their King ! When we 
sin, let ITS fear — but not flvv. Let us denounce 
ourselves — but not despair. Let us approach 
the throne of that King who alone can heliJ 
us. The throne to which we are invited is a 
"throne of grace," i.e., favour. It is the source 
of power ; but it is gracious power — merciful 
power — power to help in time of need. It is 
the highest pleasure of the King who sits 
upon this throne to dispense royal favour. 
Ancient kings could only be appointed on 
certain days ; and then none dare come near 
on pain of death save those to whom the 
golden sceptre Avas extended. Our King sits 
upon the throne of grace day and night, and is 

II 73 



no MI LET I C COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



always accessible — even to rebels against His 
government. Therefore let us come boldly — 
not run away to hide — that we may obtain 
mercy for the past rebellion, and grace to help 
us whenever again tempted to prefer Satan's 
hollow proffers to God's heavenly promises. 

" Words cannot tell what blest relief 
Here from my every want I find, 
What strength for warfare — balm for grief ; 
What peace of mind." — Elliott. 

Tne First Step ! Ver. 9. Go, ask the cul- 
prit at the bar, or the felon in the prison, or the 
murderer awaiting the adjustment of the noose 
of the gallows-rope around his neck, to trace for 
you his wicked course of life ; and, prominent 
in the black record, will stand out the story of 
his first act of disobedience to parents, of his 
first Sabbath-breaking, or of liis first glass. 
Like links of a continuous chain, each act of 
iniquity in a wicked life connects the last and 
vilest with the " first false step of guilt." Be- 
ware of the beginnings of evil. Tliey are the 
most dangerous because seemingly so harmless. 
How immense the evils which followed upon 
Eve's first false stejj ! A few years ago, says 
Myrtle, a little boy told liis first falsehood. It 
was a little solitary thistle-seed, and no eye but 
that of God saw him plant it in the mellow 
soil of his heart. But it sprung up — oh ! how 
ipiickly ! In a little time another and another 
seed droj^ped from it to the ground — each in 
turn bearing more seed and more thistles. 
And now his heart is overgrown with bad 
habits. It is as difficult for him to speak the 
truth as it is for a gardener to clear his land 
of the ugly thistle after it has gained a hold on 
the soil. 

" Let no man trust the first false step 
Of guilt ; it hangs upon a precipice 
Whose steep descent in last perdition ends." 

Self-knowledge! Ver. 9. They knew 
their condition. The degenerate plant has no 
consciousness of its own degradation ; nor 
could it, when reduced to tlie cliaracter of a 
weed or wild flower, recognize in the fair and 
delicate garden-plant the type of its former 
self. Tlie tamed and domesticated animal, 
remarks Cauxl, could not feel any sense of 
humiliation when confronted with its wild 
brother of the desert — fierce, strong, and free — 
as if discerning in that spectacle the noble tjrpe 
from which itself had fallen. But reduce a 
man ever so low, you cannot obliterate in his 
inner nature the consciousness of falling be- 
neath himself. Low as Adam had sunk, there 
.still remained, however dim and flickering, the 
latent consciousness and reminiscence of a 
nobler self, and so of the depths of degrading 
wickedness into which he had plunged himself. 

" Exiled from home he here dotli sadly sing, 
In spring each autumn, and in autumn 

spring : 
Far from his nest he shivers on a wall 
Where blows on him of rude misfortune fall." 
74 



Divine Vision '. (Vei-. 8). Adam for- 
got that God could see him anywhere. Dr. 
Nettleton used to tell a little anecdote, beauti- 
fully illustrating that the same truth which 
overwhelms the sinner's heart with fear, may 
fill the renewed soul with joy. A mother in- 
structing her little girl, about four years of 
age, succeeded by the aid of the Holy Spirit in 
fastening upon her mind tliis truth, " Thou 
God seest me !" She now felt that she " had 
to do " with that Being " unto wliose eyes all 
things are naked," and she shrank in terror. 
For days she was in deep distress ; she wept 
and sobbed, and would not be comforted. 
"God sees me, God sees me !" was her con- 
stant wail. At length one day, after spending 
some time in prayer, she bounded into her 
mother's room, and with a heavenly smile light- 
ing up her tears, exclaimed, " Oh, mothei', God 
sees me, God sees me !" Her ecstacy was now 
as great as her anguish had been. For days her 
soul had groaned imder the thought, " God sees 
me ; He sees my wicked heart, my sinful life, 
my hatred to Him and to His holy law ;" and the 
fear of a judgment to come would fill her 
soul with agony. But now a i^ardoniug God 
had been revealed to her, and her soul ex- 
claimed exultingly, " God sees me, takes pity 
on me, will guide and guard me." No doubt 
Adam experienced this joy amid the briars and 
thorns of the wide, wide workl (v. 23) , which 
was denied him, and tlie vernal beauties and 
swimming fragrance of Eden, in the knowledge 
that he had 

"A Friend wlio will gather the outcasts, 
And shelter the homeless poor ; 
A Friend who will feed the hungry 
Witlx bread from the heavenly store." 

Concealment ! (Ver. 9.) Adam hid him- 
self ; but not where God could not see him. 
God saw the fugitives. Neither is there any 
creature that is not manifest in His sight ; but 
all things are naked and ojjened unto the eye 
of Him with whom we have to do. This verse 
is felt to be like a glance at the Heart- 
searcher's eye if the conscience be quick, and 
the soul an object of interest. The most 
micro-scop! (■ and the most mighty objects in 
creation are e(pially exjjosed to His scrutiny. 
Especially does He look man's heart through 
and through. "Hast thou eaten?" He examines 
• — turns over all its folds — follows it through 
all its windings, imtil a complete diagnosis is 
obtained. "Tliou hast eaten." Godwasawit- 
ness to it ; so that the sinner in effect challen- 
ges the judgment of God : — 

" For what can veil us from thy sight ? 
Distance dissolves before thy ray. 

And darlaiess kindles into day." — Peter. 

Remedy! (Ver. 13.) The death was 
wrought ; but God would evolve death out of 
life. When a vessel has all the air extracted 
from it and a vacuum formed, the pressure of 
the outside air on the surrounding surface will 
probably shiver it into a thousand pieces ; bixt 
no man can restore that vessel. The pot- 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



CHAP. Ill, 



ter may place the' fragments in his engine, 
and mould out of them another vessel ; yet it 
is not the same. But God can. God here 
declares He will. The remedy followed close 
upon the disease — the life upon the death. 
Near the manchaneel, which grows in the 
forests of the West Indies, and which gives 
forth a juice of fleadly poisonous nature, 
grows a iig, the saj) of either of which, if ap- 
plied in time, is a remedy for the diseases pi'o- 
duced by the manchaneel. God places the 
(lospel of Grace alongside the sentence of 
Death. He provides a remedy for man 

" To soothe his sorrows — heal his wounds, 
And di'ive away his fears." 

Labour ! Ver. 17. Dionysius the tyrant 
\\as once at an entertainment given to him by 
the Lacedemonians, where he exjJressed some 
dii^gust at their black laroth. One of the 
number remarked that it was no wonder he 
(lid not relish it, since there was "no seasoning." 
"What seas(ming," enquired the despot? to 
which the prompt reply was given : "laboiu* 
joined with hunger." Krummacher narrates a 
fable of how Adam had tilled the groiuid and 
made himself a garden full of j)lants and trees. 
He rested himself with his wife and children 
upon the brow of a hill. An angel came and 
saluting them said : " You must labour to eat 
1 iread in the sweat of your brow, l3ut after your 
toil, you rejoice in the fi'uit acquired." But 
Adam deplored the loss of Jehovah's nearness ; 
\\'hereupon the watcher rej^lied that " toil was 
earthly prayer, the heavenly gift of Jehovah." — 

" Work for some good be it ever so slowly ! 
Cherish some flower, be it ever so lowly ! 
Labour ! all labour is noble and holy ; 
Let thy [great deeds be a prayer to thy 
God." — Osgood. 

Human Ruin ! Ver. 17. Canning says that 
man is a dismantled fane — a Ijroken shrine, 
and that there still lingers about him some 
gleams of his departed glory sufficient to give 
an idea of what lie once was, and probably left 
as faint prophecy of what he will again be. 
You see, for example, a beautiful capital still 
1 (earing some of the flowers, and some vestiges 
of the foliage which the sculjator's chisel had 
carved upon the marble. It lies on the grovmd 
half -buried under rank weeds and nettles ; 
while beside it the headless shaft of a noble 
column springs from its pedestal. As Guthrie 
asks : Would you not at once conclude that its 
present condition so base and mean was not its 
<tfi(/inal position ? You woiild say that the 
lightning bolt must have struck it down 
— or earthquake shaken its foundation — or 
ruthless barbarism had climbed the shaft — or 
time's relentless scythe had mown it down. 
We look at man and arrive at a similar con- 
elusion. Like an old roofless temple, man is 
a grand and solemn ruin, on the front of which 
we can still trace the mutilated inscription of 
his original dedication to God. Yet he is a 
ruin, and one which human skill cannot 



restore. The art of man may wreath it with 
ivy — may suiTound it with stonecrop and wall- 
flower, yet he remains a ruin still — he though 
in nature's richest mantle clad 

" And graced with all philosophy can add ; 
Though fair without, and luminous within. 
Is still the progeny and heir of sin." — 

Coiqycr. 

Eesurgam-hope ! Ver. 14. All was not 

hopeless gloom. The cloud had its silver 
lining ; and like Noah's thunderbank of water 
was arched by a brilliant Iris of comfort. It 
shall bruise thy head. Man would rise. In 
a Syrian valley grows a clump of trees stunted 
in their growth, \vith scarce one shade of re- 
semblance to that noble group of stately cedars 
on the mountain ridge, the seeds from which 
had been planted in the vale by the agency of 
winds, and had shot up into tliese puny and 
rejjulsive trunks. But further on another 
cluster presents itself, which had been jjlanted 
by the hand of man, carefully attended to as 
they grew up. These had a family likeness to 
that grove upon the hill slopes ; and were 
giving promise of beauty and grandeur equal 
to that of their progenit(.)rs. The godless 
children of Adam resemble the stunted grove 
in the dell, with but feeble likeness to that of 
Adam in his sinless state ; whereas the third 
clumiD symbolize the " renewed " sons of God, 
who, though immeasui-ably inferior as yet to 
the noble stock from which they were origi- 
nally taken, are bearing evident marks of 
their parentage, and j^romise one day to attain 
to their high and heavenly origin : — 
" Born of the spirit, and thus allied to God, 
He dm-ing his probations term shall walk 
His mother earth, unfledged to range the sky, 
But, if found faithful, shall at length ascend 
The highest heavens and share my home and 
j'ours." — Bickerstvth. 

Tlie Seed! Ver. 15. This seed, the 
Apostle says, was Christ. He is the great 
Deliverer and Chami^ion. He is the great 
Legislator and Teacher. His name outshines 
all the names upon the " Boll of Fame." His 
name is above every name. In the Forum 
yonder stands a marble pillar of large cii'cmn- 
ference and lofty height. It rests tipon a 
massive base, it is crowned ■with a richly- 
carved capital. And when a citizen has won 
some great victory for the state, has delivered 
it from a foreign foe or from domestic insur- 
rection, has removed some gross abuse or 
inaugurated some beneficent reform, his name, 
by decree of the senate, is inscribed iipou the 
pillar in letters of gold. And now that shaft 
glitters from top to bottom with shining names, 
all honourable, but the more honourable ever 
above the less. And gleaming at the top of 
the pillar is a name that outshines all the rest. 
So in the Forum of the kingdom of heaven 
stands a pillar blazing all over with beautiful 
names, and at the top a vaiiie tltnt is above 
era-// name, "not only in this world but also 
in tiiat which is to come." Therefore — 

75 



CHAP, III. 



JIOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



" He spends his time most worthily who seeks 
this name to know ; 
Its ocean-fuhiess riseth still as ages onward 
flow !" — C'miit-. 

Thistles! Ver. 18. How greatly the pro- 
cess of man's redemption from the curse — of 
his rise in morals and intelligence — is aided by 
this decree of Providence it would be difficidt 
to estimate. 1. Did his food grow like acorns 
or beechmast ujjon long-lived trees, requiring 
no toil or care or forethought of his own, the 
most efficient means to his advancement would 
have been wanting. The curse would have 
deepened his degradation, instead of containing 
as it does now at its core the means of its 
removal — the inverse aid of man's physical and 
.sjjiritual progress. 2. It has Ijccn observed 
that the very instruments of man's jjunishment 
— the very goads that prick him on to exertion 
— are after all stunted or abortive forms of 
branches, or of buds which in happier circum- 
stances would have gone on to develop fruit, 
and that the downy parasols by means of 
which thistles spread their seeds in myriads 
are due to degeneration of floral parts ; so that 
they witness to man continually of his own 
degradation, inasmuch as they — like himself — 
are failures on the part of nature to reach an 
ideal perfection. 

Contrast ! Ver. 19. A traveller in Syi-ia 
notes that on a mountainous ridge his attention 
was called to a magnificent grove of trees of 
the cedar species. They were evidently the 
growth of many ages, and had attained the 
perfection of beauty and grandeur. As he 
descended into the vale, he beheld a num- 
ber of other trees stunted in their growth, 
and as remarkable for their meanness as the 
former were for their magnificence. The guide 
assured him that they were of the same species ; 
yet not a trace of resemblance could he find 
in them. This appears to be a remarkable 
emblem of Adam. In Chap. II. the power of 
body, mind and spirit resemble the cluster of 
stately cedar-pines ; whereas, when we descend 
into the valley of sin in Chap. III., we observe 
that, like the scattered trees in the vale, his 
mental and moral powers are stunted in their 
growth — mean, desj)icable, and well-nigh use- 
less. Of him we may exclaim that he was 
planted a noble vine, but how is he turned into 
the degenerate plant of a strange vine ! Whose 
fault ? 

" Whose Init his own ? Ingrate, he had of Me 
All he could have ; I made him just and 

right. 
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. 

—Mi/ ion. 

Dust of Death! Ver. 19. Dust may be 
raised for a little while into a tiny cloud, and 
may seem considerable while held up by the 
wind that raises it ; but when the force of that 
is spent, it falls again, and returns to the earth 
out of which it was raised. Such a thing is 
man ; man is but a parcel of dust, and must 
7G 



return to his earth. Thus, as Pascal exclaims, 
what a chimera is man ! What a confused 
chaos ! And after death, of his body it may 
be said that it is the gold setting left after the 
extraction of the diamond which it held — a 
setting, alas ! which soon gives cause in its 
putrescence for the apostrophe : How is the 
gold become dim ! How is the most fine gold 
changed ! Yet " there is hoije in thine end," 
O (christian gold, however dimmed. There is 
a " resm-gam " for thy dust, child of God ! 

" The fine gold has not perished, when the 
flame 
Seizes upon it with consuming glow ; 
In freshn'd splendoiu' it comes forth anew 
To spai-kle on the Monarch's Throne or 
Brow." — Boiiar. 

Promises! Ver. 21. Deeds are more 
powerful expressions than words ; but this 
Divine act of clothing Adam and Eve in 
"robes of blood-shedding" coidd have no in- 
telligent force to them without a revelation. 
Is it unreasonable to suppose that God ex- 
plained to them the meaning of that prophetic 
decree in ver. 15 : "It shall bruise thy head " ? 
When the scarlet-dyed raiment was placed by 
Divine dii'ection upon the bodies of Adam and 
Eve, Jehovah explained the symbolism, and 
unfolded promises of mercy through free sove- 
reign grace in response to Faith. Adam and 
Eve laid hold of those promises, and cast them- 
selves imfeignecUy on His mercy. This would 
brighten their otherwise dark pathway. AVhen 
a pioiis old slave on a Virginian plantation was 
asked why he was always so sunny -hearted and 
cheerful under his hard lot, he replied, " Ah, 
massa, I always lays flat down on de promhcs, 
and den I pray straight up to my hebenly 
Father." Humble, happy soul ! he was not 
the first man who has eased an aching heart 
by laying it iip(ni God's pillows ; or the first 
man who had risen up the stronger from a 
repose on the imchangealile word of God's love. 
If you take a Bank of England note to the 
counter of the bank, in an instant that bit of 
jjaper turns to gold. If we take a promise of 
God to the mercy-seat, it tmnis to what is 
better than gold — to our own good and the 
glory of our Father. 

Privileges Perverted ! Ver. 22. Pilkington 
mentions that in Retsch's Ilhastrations of 
Goethe's Faust, there is one plate where angels 
are seen drojiping roses down uiion the demons, 
who are contending for the soul .of Faust. 
But every rose falls like molten metal — burn- 
ing and l.)listering where it touches. Is it not 
so with man ? God's gifts are by him abused 
— His privileges perverted. The gifts remain 
intrinsically the same ; but man's heart — his 
guilty conscience is pained ; as vice blushes at 
virtue's contact. 

" Wasted and mai'red in the sin-stricken soxd, 
The finest workmanship of God is there." 

— Willis. 

Divine Care ! (Ver. 23.) God did not 



110 MI LET 10 COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. HI, 



forget Adam and Eve. Nor was He in- 
different to their constitution. Life in Para- 
dise would be extreme misery. He saw — he 
knew. So God sees all the way of each child 
of His. And as he taught Adam and Eve that 
His Providence and love would guide and direct 
their future, so does He teach us. Dr. Dod- 
dride was taught this in a dream. He thought 
he had just died, and in an instant was 
conscious that he was free as a bird. Em- 
bodied in an aerial form he floated in light, 
while beneath was his family weeping over his 
dead body, which he had just left as though 
it were an empty box. Reposing upon golden 
clouds, he found himself ascending through 
space, guided by a venerable figure, in which 
age and youth were blended into majestic 
sweetiress. They travelled on and on. At 
length the towers of a most beautiful edifice 
rose, brilliant and distinct, before them. The 
door swung noiselessly open as they entered a 
spacious room, in the centre of which stood a 
table covered with a snow-white cloth, on 
which was a golden cup and a cluster of i-ipe 
grapes. "Here you must await the Lord of 
the mansion, who will soon come," said the 
guide. " In the meantime, you will find 
plenty to delight you." His guide vanished ; 
and upon looking at the room, he found its 
walls covered with pictures, which, upon ex- 
amination, proved to be a complete delineation 
of his entire life, revealing to him that there 
had not been an hour in it of joy, sadness, 
or peril, in which a ministering angel had not 
been present as guardian and Saviour. This 
revelation of God's goodness and mercy and 
watchfulness far exceeded his highest imagi- 
nings. While he was filled with gratitude 
and love, the Lord of the mansion entered. 
His appearance was so overwhelming in its 
loveliness and majesty, that the dreamer sank 
at liis feet overcome. His Lord, gently raising 
him, took his hand and led him forward to 
the table. Pressing the juice of the grapes 
into the golden cup, he first tasted it, then 
liolding it to the di-eamer's lips, said, " Drink : 
this is the new wine in my Father's kingdom." 
No sooner had he drank, than perfect love cast 
out all fear, and clasping his arms around the 
Saviour, he exclaimed "My Lord and my 
God!" Sweeter than the sweetest of earth's 
music, he heard the voice of God His Saviour in 



accents of comfort and tones of assurance ; 
and, thrilling with unspeakable, bliss, he awoke 
with tears of rapture streaming over his face. 
Yes ! God sees — knows — pities — preserves — 
perfects. 

"Through all my dark has shone Thy face, 
Thy peace has flowed beneath my pain ; 
Stumbling, I fell in Thy embrace 

My loss by Thee was turned to gain." 

Mercy and Judgment ! Ver. 24. Mercy 
here fringed the judgment of exclusion. Man 
now reqiaired an occupation to prevent unavail- 
ing regrets. Naturally prone to mood over the 
past, God gave him an employment which would 
draw his mind away from jxist memories to 
present action and future hope. Regrets of a 
certain class are useless. As for instance 
those which a man in mid-life sometimes expe- 
riences. It is the solemn thought connected 
with middle life, that life's last business is 
liegun in earnest ; and it is then, midway 
between the cradle and the grave, that a man 
begins to marvel that he lets the days of youth 
go by so half-enjoyed. It is the pensive 
autumn feeling ; it is the sensation of half- 
sadness that we experience when the longest 
day of the year is past, and every day that 
follows is shorter, and the light fainter, and 
the feebler shadows tell that nature is hasten- 
ing with gigantic footsteps to her winter grave. 
So does man look back ujjou his youth. When 
the first gray hairs become visible, when the 
unwelcome truth fastens itself upon the mind 
that a man is no longer going up hill, but 
down, and that the sun is always westering, he 
looks back on things behind. When we were 
children, we thought as children. But now 
there lies before us manhood, with its earnest 
work, and then old age, and then the grave, 
and then home. There is a second youth for 
man, better and holier than the first, if he will 
look on and not look back. Hence God sent forth 
Adam to till the ground, to devote his energies 
to diligent use of the present, by directing his 
hopes toward heavenly rest in the futm-e. 
And if we could have his confession now it 
would be : — 
" Yes, I can tell of hours apart 

In lonely path and secret place, 

When burned and glowed within my heart 
The woncU'ous meanings of Thy gi-ace." 



77 



IIOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAPTER IV. 



Critical Notes. — 1- Gotten a man from the Lord.] Or, perhaps, "Gotten a man, even 
Jehovah." The rendering of the A. V. is no donht the one more generally followed. Leeser 
and Murphy have, " from the Lord " ; Young, " by the Lord " ; Gesenius, " by the aid of 
Jehovah " ; Davies, " with the Eternal," i.e., " with His presence and help " ; in like manner 
the Sept. renders the words, ^loi. rov Qcov ; and the Vulg. ^Je»' Deum. Lange is dissatisfied 
with this translation as " too weak," and proposes to read : " a man, with Jehovah " ; 
" that is, " he says, " one who stands in connection with Jehovah. ... In the blessed confidence 
of female hope, she would seem, with evident eagerness, to greet, in the new-born, the promised 
woman's seed (ch. iii. 1.5) according to her understanding of the word." We are not surprised 
that Prof. Tayler Lewis (in Lange's Genesis) should jn-onounce even "with Jehovah" a harsh 
and difficult rendering ; and that the juxtaposition of " 'eth Cain " " 'eth Jehovah " (" she bare 
'eth Cain, and said, I have gotten a m.a.n\'th Jehovah") seems to shut us up to the rendering : 
" I have borne a man, the very Jehovah, or, I have borne a man, the very God, the very 
Jehovah." There are, in truth, three considerations which must be well weighed in order to 
appreciate at its just value the evidence in favour of this last rendering. (1.) The meaning of 
the name Jehovah (Yahweh) ; for which we must refer to " Critical Notes " on Ch. ii. and on 
Ex. iii. From the exposition there given it will be seen that this name of covenant grace was 
not whollj' inapplicable to the woman's promised seed, and did certainly, in a general way, com- 
jn-ehend the promise of the redemption. [2.) The common usage of the particle 'etJi, (" 'etJi- 
Yahiccfc ") in whicli it is much more frequently " a sign of the defuiite accusative " than anything 
else. In other words, " I have gotten a man even Yahweh " is the rendering suggested at first 
sight of the original. (3.) The error of Eve on one point does not convict her of error on 
another. Her exclamation, rendered as now suggested, assumes two things: — (o) That the 
promised seed would be Yahweh himself ; and {h) that this her first-born was the promised 
seed. Her pardonaljle error as to (b), in no way lirings discredit on her persuasion as to (a). 
And be it remembered that the naturalness of such an exclamation^not its entire correctness^ 
is sufficient to remove any objection from this source to the translation before us. On the 
whole, we are constrained to regard this as the better translation. — 7. Sin lieth at the door.] 
Kather : " A sin-offering is crouching at the door, or (more generally) opening " : e.g. " at the 
opening, or entrance, of thy brother's fold." This exegesis supplies a point of departure for the 
words which immediately follow, and which otherwise seem exceedingly abrupt. The connect- 
ing link may be sho^vn by the following paraphrase : — " Though, in order to do well, thou must 
needs own thyself a sinner, and be indebted to thy brother for a sin-offering out of his fold ; yet 
this will not destroy thy rights as first-born: Notwith.standing, to thee shall he his desire, and 
thou shalt ride over him. Let not pride, therefore, deter thee from this better — this only proper 
— way. Let no obstinacy, no groundless fears, keep thee from thus doing well." Much has 
been written on this passage, and many are the views of it that have been propounded ; but, 
without dogmatising, we may express our pretty confident persuasion that no exposition so fully 
meets the case as the above. — 23. Adah and Zillah.] Probably the oldest fragment of poetry 
extant. With a slight freedom of translation, we may perhaps thus approach the metrical cast 
of the original: — 



Adah and Zillah ! hear ye my voice. 

Ye wives of Lamech ! give ear to my tale : 

A MAN have 1 slain in dealing my wounds, 

Yea, a youth in striking my blows: 

Since SEVENFOLD is to be the avenging of Cain, 

Then, OF Lamech, seventy and seven ! " 



MAIN nOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses I, 2. 

Domestic Life. 

I. That it is designed for the numerical increase of humanity. Tlie position 
of Adam and Eve prior to the birth of their two sons was miique. They were 
alone in the great world. In Eden they would not be so deeply conscious of 
this solitude, as there their solitude was filled with God and holy thoughts. But, 

78 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



now, in their altered condition of life, they would feel more keenly the need of 
earthly companionship. Their intercourse with Jehovah is not so easy and 
natural as it used to be, and, as they cannot live without fellowship, they would 
hail with joy the birth of a son. It is the tendency of fallen manhood to 
supply tlie place of the Divine with the liuman, to substitute earth for heaven. 
Parental loneliness is a grief to many. Their home rings not with the hapi)y 
voice of childhood. But still it is impossible that any parents now can be 
lonely as the progenitors of our race. The intellectual, and social, and moral 
companionships of the outside world are too numerous to leave domestic life in 
solitude. 2. The i)osition of Adam and Eve 2)i'lov to the birth of their two sons 
was interesting. They are now in a great crisis of their lives. They have 
passed through all the bitter experiences of sin. They have become cognizant 
of Satanic influence. They are fallen creatures. They have been driven from 
the supreme enjoyments of a holy life and residence into the struggle of a hard 
life. Yet they are encircled by Divine mercy. How will they act ? In what 
manner and spirit will they conduct their new and arduous life? Will they 
push further into sin, or will they begin their domestic life in purity and hope ? 
How will their recent sin affect their rising progeny? These and kindred 
questions invest the position of Adam and Eve at this time with deep and 
extraordinary interest. Hence the domestic relations of life were intended to 
people the country, to provide men from the intellectual, commercial and moral 
pursuits of life. 

II. That it should be careful as to the nomenclature of its children. Eve's 
first-born was called " Cain," her next son was designated "Abel." We observe 
that : 1. Child nomenclature should be ai)propriate. The name Cain signifies 
2)ossession. Eve regarded her first-born son with delight. He was her property. 
Some parents only regard their children as so much property, as worth so much 
to them in the labour market. But Cain was to our first parents a moral 
possession. They regarded him as the gift of God. Children are the most 
happy, and yet the most solemn and responsible possession of domestic life. 
They are not to be regarded as " encumbrances," but as capable of healthy 
work and sublime moral destiny. They are to be well cultured. They ought 
to increase the spiritual value of the home to which they belong. They ought 
to be trained for the God from whence they came. Give them appropriate 
names, expressive of their early dispositions, their infantile circumstances, or 
of some holy thought connected with the providence of God in your history. 

2. Child nomenclature should be instructive. While the name of Cain signified 
possession, that of Abel signified vanity. Many conjectures have been offered 
as to the reason of the name given to Abel. The probability is that our first 
parents were getting into the painful experiences of life, and embodied their 
verdict of it in the name of their child. Thus the name of their second son 
gathers up the history of their past, and the sorrows of their present condition. 
It would ever be a monitor to both child and parents. When either is tempted 
to be led away by earthly things, it would serve to remind them of their vanity. 
It is well to have Scriptural names in a family. They are deeply instructive. 

3. Child nomenclature should be considerate. The names that parents some- 
times give to children, while they are appropriate, instructive, and prophetic, 
should always be in harmony with good taste and refined judgment. Some 
parents give their children several names, as if one or two were not enough to 
distinguish them, or as if they wished to give them good practice in writing in 
future days. How many men are ashamed of the uneuphonious and jaw- 
breaking names that have been given to them in childhood. Hence parents 
should be considerate in the domestic nomenclature of their offspring. Let 
their names be pictures of goodness, and patterns of truth. 

79 



CHAP. IV. IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



III. That it should judiciously bring up children to some honest and 
helpful employments. 1. These tivo brothers had a daily callhuj. They were 
not allowed to idle away their time at home, without instruction to prepare 
them for the active duties of Ufe, or without work to develop their growing and 
youthful energies. Every young man, irrespective of liis social position, or great 
expectations, ought to be brought up to some useful employment. The world 
invites his effort. Commerce is calling for it. Art would prize it. Literature 
would repay it. Heaven will reward it. Indolence is the curse of family life. 
2. Each of these brothers had his distinctive calling. Abel was a keeper of sheep. 
Cain was a tiller of the ground. Thus the two brothers were not engaged in the 
same pursuit. It is well for a family to cultivate within itself all the employ- 
ments of civilized life. Then one member of it becomes the happy compliment of 
another, and all are in a state of comparative independence. Some men look 
down on the agriculturalist. They have no reason to. It is the most ancient 
trade. It is most honourable. It is mediatorial in its character, for it takes 
the gifts from the hand of God to distribute them to supply the wants of 
humanity. This should evoke gratitude. 3. These brothers had a healthful 
calling. Both of them worked in the open air. Some parents allow their boys 
to be confined in sultry offices, or in ill-ventilated workshops, where physical 
manhood is weakened by daily labour. Men should study health in their 
secular pursuits. Work ought to strengthen rather than weaken. 4. These 
brothers had a calling favourable to the decelopment of intellectual thought. 
Shepherds, and tillers of the ground, ought to be men of great souls, and 
sublime ideas. They are students of nature. Their daily occupation brings 
them near to God. Many of the Psalms are the outcome of a shepherd life. 

IV. That it should not be unmindfal of its relig'ious obligations. " And 

in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground 
an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his 
flock and of the fat thereof" 1. These offerings are rendered obligatory by the 
mercies of the 2)C(st. This first family had received many blessings at the Divine 
hand. Their spared lives. Their increasing fiimily. Their fruitful gardens. 
It was natural that they should be inspired with the idea of religious worship. 
There is not a fomily in the world but has reason to worship God. 2. These 
offerings should be the natural and unselfish outcome of our commercial prosperity. 
Cain and Abel were prosperous in their avocations, and hence it was only 
natural and right that they should offer to God the fruit of the earth and the 
firstlings of the flock. The first fruits of trade should be presented to the Lord. 
They are His due. It would show our unselfish reception of His gifts. It would 
enrich Ilis church, and aid His moral enterprise in the world. 3. These offerings 
ought to embody the true worship of the soul. People say that they can worship 
God without giving him anything. They sing His praise, they pray to Him, 
but they never give to Him the firstlings of their flocks. They are wealthy, yet 
they give the Lord nothing. Their worship is a mockery. If their prayers were 
true, their gifts would be ready. In such a case the gift is the measure of the 
prayer. The poor widow will give her mite. The penitent heart will give 
itself Lessons : — 1. 7%a^ domestic life is sacred as the ordination of God. 

2. That children are the gift of God, and are often prophets of the future. 

3. Tliat working and gioing are the devotion of family life. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verse 1, 2. Providence has distin- The propagation of the human race 
guished men from their first birth into is outside of Paradise, not because it is 
the world. first occasioned by sin, but rather be- 

80 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



cause it supposes a distinct development can never be entirely separated from 

of mankindj and is tainted Avitli its sin the rearing of cattle ; for a man not 

[^Lange]. only requires food, but clothing, Avhich 

Adam had, no doubt, already com- is procured directly from the hides and 

menced both occupations, and the sons wool of tame animals. The different 

selected each a different department, occupations of the brothers, therefore, 

God himself had pointed out both to are not to be regarded as a proof of tlie 

Adam — the tilling of the ground by difference in their dispositions. This 

the employment assigned him in Eden, comes out first in the sacrifice, which 

which had to be changed into agricul- they ottered after a time to_ God, each 

ture after his expulsion ; and the keep- one from the produce of his vocation 

ing of cattle in the clothing which He {^Keil and DeUtzsch.\ 
gavehim(iii. 21). Moreover; agriculture 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 3—8. 

The TiiUE and False Worshipper or God. 

I. That both the True and the False amongst Men are apparently Worshippers 
of God. Both Cain and Abel came to worship God. The false come to worship 
God. 1. Because it is the custom of the land so to do. The sabbath morning 
dawns, and the world of mankind awakes to the religious service of the day. 
All classes and conditions of men are seen v/ending their way to the temple of 
God. They .reverence not the day. They join not heartily in its worship. 
They are the .slaves of custom. They are the creatures of habit. Hence you 
cannot distinguish the moral character of men by the mere fact of worship. 
Attendance to the outward ceremonial of religion is not an infallible index to 
their piety or heavenly aspirations. 2. Because men feel that then ""Z*'*^ P""!! ^'^P^'^ 
regard to social propriet}) and conscience. Men would feel if they did not bring 
the first fruits of their religious service to God that they were little better 
than heathens. This to them is a social propriety. They would not disgrace 
their characters by an avowed neglect of the sabbath, or by_ a rejection of all 
moral worship. They always attend church once a day. This is their sabbath 
etiquette. This silences their conscience, preserves their reputation, and con- 
stitutes them moral and respectable people. ■ Hence they bring their firstlings 
to the Lord. These are the false worshippers of God, and with them the 
sanctuaries of the world are crowded. They are Cainites. _ 3. Because men 
feel that their souls are drawn out to God in ardent longings and grateful 
praises. These are the true Avorshippers of God. They are in the minority. 
They are followers of Abel. They gladly welcome all the means of g;race They 
joyfully present their firstlings to the Lord. They come to God in his appointed 
way. They are animated by the true spirit of devotion. 

II. That both the True and the False amongst men present their material 
offerings to God. Cain and Abel not merely came together to worship God, 
but they also brought of their substance to the Lord. Cain brought of the 
fruit of the ground. Abel brought the firstlings of his flock. 1. The trade oj 
each brother suggested his offering. This was most natural. _ The trades, the 
temperaments, and the abilities of men, generally determine their kind^ of 
religious service and devotion. The men of great intellect will take to God 
the firstlings of a splendid literature. The man of great emotion will take to 
God the offerings of an enthusiastic prayer. The man of great wealth will 
take silver and gold. The man of leisure will give histime. The man of 
genius will give his originality. The poor man will give himself. Hence there 

I 81 



HO Ml LET I C COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



are few men who neglect to give some offering to the Lord. (1.) Some take 
their offerings for lyarade. They never take small offerings that can be concealed. 
Their offerings ahvays go in droves, that men may see them, admire them, and 
inquire about them. They have no true piety to inspire society with respect, 
hence they substitute ostentation, and a pretence of goodness in its place. 
They will give ten thousand pounds to build a church, when privately they 
would not give ten shillings to save a soul. (2.) They tahe their offerings to 
enhance their trade. They want to be known as great church goers, as men of 
benevolent disposition. Thus they hope to increase their financial returns, and 
to strengthen their business relationships. Their offerings to God are nothing 
more than investments for themselves. (3.) They take their offerings to increase 
their social influence. (4.) They take their offerings ivith a humble desire to 
glorify God. These are the offerings of a true manhood. They are the out- 
come of a penitent soul. They only are acceptable to heaven. Thus as you 
cannot estimate the moral character of a man by his worship, neither can you 
by the material offerings he presents to the Lord. 

III. That both the true and the false amongst men are observed and estimated 
by God in their worship and offerings. 1. The vorship and offerings of the one 
are accepted. " And the Lord had respect unto Abel and his ottering." And 
why : — (1.) Because it teas icell and carefully selected. Men should select 
carefully the offerings they give to God. (2.) Because it uris the best he could 
command. He brought the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. When 
men are searching their flocks for the Lord's offering, they generally take the 
poorest they can find. The threepenny piece is enough. (3.) Because it 
was appropriate His sacrifice preached the gospel, foreshadowed the cross. 
(4.) Because it was offered in a right spirit. This makes the great point of 
difference between the two offerings. The grandest offerings given in a wrong 
spirit will not be accepted by God, whereas the meanest offering given in lowly 
spirit Avill be welcome to him. Thus the younger l)rother was the best. He 
was better than his name. (2.) The worship and offering of the other was 
rejected. " But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect." The men 
who make their religious offerings a parade, who regard this worship as a form, 
are not welcomed by God. 

IV. That the true, in the Divine reception of their worship and offerings, are 
often envied by the false. 1. This envy is wrathful. " "Why art thou wrath." 
2. This envy is apparent. " Why is thy countenance fallen." 3. This envy 
is unreasonable. " If thou doest well, shalt thou be accepted." 4. This 
envy is murderous. " Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him." 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verse 3. Sin, however it made man Hj^pocrites come without blood, even 

apostate from God, did not extingniish without sense of their own deserts and 

his worship of God. self-abasement, to serve God. 

God and nature teach parents to Sincere worshi^^pers have been in the 

nurture children in the religion of God. Church of God from the beginning. 

Set and stated times there have been 

for God's worship from the beginning. The Sacrifices of the Ancient 

The Sabbath. Dispensation. 

From the fall of man God did teach Verse 4. I. That from the earliest times, 

their recovery by sacrifice. the only way of acceptable worship has been 

Wicked ones, even the children of }l sacriiice. it is impossible to account for 

,1 1 .1 1 11 „ ,. . the onjnn and prevalence of sacrifice, but upon 

the deyii, have made show of rehgion ^^^ principle of divine appointment. We can- 

from the fall. not suppose that this offering of Abel, so highly 
82 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



CHAP. IV, 



approved, was uncommanded. Analogy against 
it. In subsequent times God appointed tlie 
whole Jewish ritual. Tabernacle was erected 
after His pattern. It is not likely that (Idd 
woidd leave fallen man without direction in 
this matter. There is no natural connection, 
to the eye of reason, between the sacrifice of a 
brute and the forgiveness of a sinner. Without 
shedding of blood is no remission. 

II. The sacrifice which God accepts must be 
offered upon principles which God will approve. 

Abel gave of the firstlings. He ofiered his 
sacrifice in faith — in obedience to a divine in- 
stitution — in dependence upon divine promise 
— in the exercise of devout affections. A better 
sacrljice than Cain — better as to the substance, 
better as to the feeling. Cain considered God 
as Creator, but Abel as Redeemer. 

III. The order of divine procedure is to accept, 
first the person, and then the offering. The 
Lord liad resjject to Abel and his offering. 
Man first regards the gifts, and then the jierson 
according to the gifts, but God the contrary. 
TJie sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination 
to the Lord, Init tlie prayer of the upright is 
His delight. 

IV. The commencement of sacrifice with, 
man's sin, and the consummation of sacri- 
fice in a Saviour's death, plainly show 
that a system of atonement is incorpo- 
rated with the whole train of Divine 
dispensation. 1. How important to ascer- 
tain our interest in the great sacrifice. 2. 
That the church on earth has always 'presentecl 
a mixed company, and has always leen in a 
militant state. Cain worshipped in form, Abel 
in truth. The sheep and the goats, the wheat 
and the tares, vn.]l always be mingled till 
judgTuent. 3. Hoiv singular is the fact that 
I he first man who died, died a martyr. 4. Let 
Its all learn to scrutinize our motives in religious 
worship), as we l-noiv that God strictly observes 
them. He is not a Christian who is one out- 
wardly, and circumcision is that of the heart. 
—(The Evangelist.) 

Strange to say tliat the worship of 
God was the first occasion of difi'erence 
amongst men. 

God does not accept men according 
to the priority of their earthly hirth. 

Persons are accepted before duties 
can be. 

No work of man can of itself find 
favour with God. 

History of Cain as a Beacox. 

Verse 5. I- That he was the first-born of 
the family of man. Who can describe the 
anxiety and Avonder which his birth would 
produce ? The birth of any child is both an 
interesting and momentous event ; but the first, 
how especially so ! 



II. He was a worshipper of the true God. 
We know nothing of the liistory of his child- 
hood. He recognised : 1. Projirietorship of 
God ; 2. Bounty of God in His gifts ; 3. His 
right to our homage. These were right. He 
was defective in faith. 

III. He was distinguished for his industrious 
labour. Labour is honourable — healthy. It 
prevents temptations. Satan may tempt the 
industrious, but the idle tempt him. It is the 
real wealth of the commonwealth. 

IV. He was the subject of the deadly passion 
of envy. God had respect to Abel, but not to 
Cain. His pride was wounded. Who can 
stand before en\y. It sees no excellency in 
another. It corrodes the soul. 

V. He was a murderer. 

VI. He was an accursed vagabond. 

VII. He was the subject of the Divine 
m.ercy and long-sufferiu g. — (Dr. Burns.) 

It is proper for li)q30crites to be 
angiy with God about his non-accep- 
tance, but never with themselves for 
their ill performance. 

The contrast between Cain and his 
brothers : — 1. Cain lives and Abel dies. 
2. Cain's race perishes ; the race of 
Seth continues. 3. Cain the first 
natural born ; Abel the first spiritual 
born. 

The countenance an index to the 
moral sentiments of the heart. 

Verse 6. God takes notice of the 
wrath of the wicked against His saints, 
and reproves it. 

The anger of Cain was probably in 
part occasioned by the fear that the 
acceptance of his younger brother be- 
fore God, might lead to some infringe- 
ment of the rights of the firstborn. In 
the next verse he is assured that this 
should not be the case. 

The relations and duties of social 
life are not altered by a person being 
admitted into the family of God. 

Religion of Nature and the 
Religion of the Gospel. 

Verse 7. Cain and Abel, like Sarah and 
Hagar, may be allegorized : the former was a 
fair representative of natiural religionists, the 
father of Deism ; the latter the representative 
of those who embrace revealed religion. Cain's 
religion, in common with many other false 
religions, had the foUowdng characteristics : — 
1. Jt was a religion that had in it some good. 
It acknowledged the existence of Divine Pro- 

83 



HO M I LET I C COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



vidence, and human obligations. There are no 
i-eligions, however false, which do not contain 
some elements of good. The evils far pre- 
ponderate. 2. It was a religion of expediency. 
It was assumed to keep up appearances. There 
was no principle iinderl3^ing it. 3. It ivas a 
religion which lacked faith. It concerned itself 
about the present, but was utterly blind to the 
future. No faith, no reality. 4. It was a reli- 
gion abounding in self-ricjhtcoumess. It ignored 
the existence of sin. It ignored the existence 
of a breach between man and his Creator. 5. 
It was a }xrsecuting religion. It could tolerate 
no other views but its own. It soon stained 
its hands with blood ; an example followed in 
subsequent ages. The religion of God is for- 
bearing, that of man vindictive. Abel's reli- 
gion had also its characteristics : — 1. The reli- 
gion of Abel embodied all the good that icas in the 
other. Whatever is of value in Deism is found in 
Christianity. 2. It surpassed it even in its own 
excellencies. There is no mention of Cain's 
being the best of the kind as of Abel's. Chris- 
tianity reveals the truth of Deism ^\^th clearer 
light, and holds them with iirmer grasp. 3. It 
recognised the existence of guilt and its merited 
doom. 4. It was actuated by faith. 5. It loas 
approved by God. 

I. Natural Religion. This consists in "doing 
well." Look at the principle on which it is 
founded. The principle is practical goodness. 
This principle is intrinsically excellent. Man 
was created to do weU. It is to be desired that 
all men should act upon this ptrinciple. The 
world would be different if men were to. No 
need of police — prison. It is a 2irinci2jle to 
which no7ie can object. Let us look at the 
standard by which it is to be tested. Tlie 
standard is the moral law of creation. In 
order to do well, man must love God with all 
his heart, &c. There must be no omission. 
The act inust be pjcrfcct. It must be a gem 
without a flaw. The motive vuist be good. The 
rule inust be good. It must be done as God 
directs. Look at the reward, "Shalt thou not 
be accepted ?" Such a religion will com- 
mand the approval of the Almighty. It will 
secure immortality for its votaries. Had 
Adam continued to do well, he would have 
continued to live. This, then, is the religion 
of nature — is glorious. Have you performed 
its requirements ? Think of sin — its nature — 
its effects — its ultimate consec/uences. How can 
we escape them ? Ask natural religion. Will 
she suggest repentance ? Will repentance re- 
place things as they were — Reformation ? This 
cannot alter the past. An offering — man has 
none to present— the mercy of the Eternal'] 
God is merciful, but how can he show it to the 
sinner, in harmony with justice ? Nature has 
no reply. 

II. Revealed Religion. "A sin offering lieth 
at thy door." 1. That revealed religion assumes 
that men are guilty. If there is no sin, there 
can be no need of a sin-offering ; and if there 
is a sin-offering, it is presumed that there is 
sin. Men have not done well. They are sinners. 
84 



They are liable to punishment. 2. That re- 
vealed religion has provided a sin-offering. Three 
kinds of sacrifices were offered by the Jews 
— eucharistic — peace-offerings — atoning. The 
last the most prominent. Type of Calvary. 
In the sin-offering there was a substitution of 
person — a substitution of sufferings — the accept- 
ance of the sin-offering %uas accompanied with 
Divine evidence. This sacrifice is efficient. 3. 
That this sin-offering reposeth at the door. The 
atonement of Christ is accessible to the sinner 
— it rests with man to avail himself of it — men 
neglect it — God exercises great long-suft'ering — 
sinners cannot go to hell without trampling on 
the sacrifice of the Cross — they will be deprived 
of exercise if they neglect it. — {Ilomilist.) 

Doing well unto God is only effected 
by faith in the Divine Mediator. 

Guilt and judgment come speedily 
upon the head of the evil-doer. 

Outward rule God sometimes gives 
to wicked ones over His saints. 



Verse 8. God's convictions and re- 
proofs upon the wicked often occasion 
greater hardness, and rage in sin. 

It is usual for wicked men to disem- 
ble their rage toward God and His 
saints. 

The simplicity of the saints often 
makes them a prey to the hypocrisy of 
the wicked. 

Hypocritical enemies, though they 
be restrained for a time, opportunity 
reveals them. 

Occasion, advantage, and privacy, 
make discovery of hypocrisy. 

Nearest relatives escape not the vio- 
lence of hypocrites. 

The method of Satan is to draw men 
from envy to murder. 

It is not merely from the influence 
of bad example, as many think, that 
vice and misery have so abounded in 
the world : before that could have 
effect, this crime presents us with as 
dreadful an instance of malignant pas- 
sion as any age can afford ; and as 
convincing a proof that it is from 
within — " out of the heart proceed evil 
thoiights and murders." 

Three Experiments and Three 
Failures. 

I. The Family idea won't keep men 
right. Cain and Abel were brothers. 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. IV. 



II. Eeligious Ceremonial won't 
keep right. Cain and Abel both 
offered sacrifice. 

III. Relig-ious Peraecution won't 
keep men right. Cain killed his bro- 
ther, but a voice cried against him. 
What will keep men right ? The love 
of God through Jesus Christ {^C'lty 
Temple]. 

The First Murder. 

I. It was the murder of one brother 
by another. We should have thought 
that the members of this small family 
could have lived on amicable terms 
with each other. We should never 
have dreamed of murder in their midst. 
See here : — 1. T/ie j^oicer of envy. 2. 
21ie ambition of selfishness. 3. The 
quick develojyment ofjjassioii. 

II. It was occasioned by envy in 
the religious department of life. The 

two brothers had each presented their 



sacrifice ; only Abel's was accepted. 
This awakened the envy of Cain. 
Brothers ought to rejoice in the moral 
success of each other. Envy in the 
church is the great cause of strife. 
Men envy each other's talents. They 
murder each other's reputation. They 
kill many of tender spirit. You can 
slay your minister by a look — a word 
— as well as by a weapon. Such con- 
duct is : — 1. Cruel. 2. Reprehensible. 
3. Astonishing. 4. Frequent. 

III. That it was avenged by Hea- 
ven. 1. By a convicting question. 2. 
By an alarming curse. 3. By a ivan- 
clering life. 

He, who, according to his mother's 
hope was to have been the slayer of 
the serpent, becomes the murderer of 
his brother. It is well that parents are 
ignorant of the future of their children, 
or they would not entertain such bright 
hopes concerning them in infancy. 



MAIN HOMILETIQS OF THE PARAGRAPH. —Term 9-16. 



The Bitter Curse which Sin brings upon an Individual Life. 

We have been thoroughly educated in the nature and effects of sin by the 
sacred narrative, not by philosophical instruction, but by tlie interesting events 
and transactions of daily life. We saw in the garden that sin consisted in a 
wandering thought from the word of God, and also in disobedience to the divine 
command ; now we behold it in full development, as a dire passion, and as a 
social wrong. Sin is a progress in the history of peoples. In different men it 
manifests itself in different forms. One man sins by disobedience ; another man 
by murder. When once it makes an entrance into a family none can tell how 
it will affect them, or predict where it will end. But these narratives in Genesis 
solemnly and emphatically teach that sin makes men wretched, that it is a loss 
rather than a gain, that it is a delusion, and that it is followed by a life-long 
curse. Surely such a revelation concerning sin ought to deter men from it. 
But the curse it will bring in the next life it is impossible for human pen to 
write. Look at the curse it involves in this life. 

I. That it renders a man subject to the solemn and convincing enquiries 
of God, "And the Lord said unto Cain, where is Abel thy brother?" All 
men are liable to the solemn interrogations of God, even when their lives 
are pure and good, but especially when they have involved themselves in 
guilt. Thus Adam was questioned after his disobedience. The good welcome 
these divine questionings as moments of glad communion with the Infinite ; 
the guilty tremble before them as the herald of yet more terrible doom. The 
questions of God touch the inner vitalities of our moral life and conduct. 
None can evade them, though many try. They demand an immediate reply, 

85 



CHAP. IV. HOMILETIO COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



In the case of Cain : — 1. This enquiry was solemn. God did not ask Cain 
about his tillage of the ground, or about the fruits of his manual toil. He does 
not ordinarily question men on such topics. These are the subject of human 
interrogations rather than divine. God questions men about their moral 
feelings, about their conduct. He is cognizant of every sin we commit, and may 
at any time inquire of us its meaning and intention. It is well for the moral 
safety of society that wicked men are arraigned before authoritative tribunals, 
or human passion would depopulate the world. It is certainly a most solemn 
experience for a human soul to l^e interrogated by God about its sins. 2. T/ns 
enquiry was convincing. It implies that although the question was asked, that 
God knew all about the inurder which the passionate brother had committed. 
God does not interrogate human souls to obtain information respecting their 
sins, as though he were ignorant of them. His inquiries are intended to pro- 
duce deep conviction of mind, to awaken men to a proper sense of^^aiilty shame, 
and sometimes to lead them to Himself, that they may be forgiven. A question 
from God, like the look from Christ, has broken many souls into refreshing 
tears. It is well for a man to confess his sins to Heaven. This is the best way 
to get rid of them. 3. This enquiry uxis retributive. It was not merely 
intended to awaken Cain to a consciousness of his late deed, but also to vindicate 
the memory of Abel. God does not allow his saints to be slaughtered at 
the caprice and passion of man, without a retributive interview with the 
murderer. When nations have slain the good, then it is that God has held 
terrible controversy with them. It is not always the law of heaven to prevent 
or turn aside the stroke of anger, but it is always the law of heaven to avenge 
it. It is foolish as well as criminal of the world to slay its best worshippers ; 
to put out its brightest lights. Cain deeply felt the retribution of this 
inquiry. 4. This enquiry was unexpected. Cain felt the passion of envy. 
He slew his brother. He probably expected that that woulcl be the end of 
it, or, it may be that he did not calculate as to the conseciuence of his 
deed. However, no sooner was the wicked murder perpetrated, than God 
appeared to avenge it. The dream of sin is soon dispelled by the dawning 
light of the Divine presence. Sinners are always exposed to the intrusions of 
heaven. They cannot hide themselves from God. They must listen to His 
voice. They feel a condemnation they cannot remove. 

II. That it sends a man on through life with the most terrible memories 
of wrong doing within his soul. 1. Cain would never forcjet the hour in which 
he slew his brother. The circumstances of the deed would ever remain new and 
vivid in his remembrance. The whole picture would live within him. He 
would be the constant spectator of it. None could blot it out, none could hide 
it, and none could give him relief from its awful torment. Such mental 
pictures are the anguish of a wicked life. What more terrible curse could 
come upon a man than this. Then this deed would be aggravated to himself 
by the thought that he had slain his brother. No long standing enemy had 
fallen victim to his rage, no foreigner, but the son of his own mother. Surely 
this was an aggravation of his crime. It would also be aggravated to himself 
by the thought that his envy toward his brother, had been occasioned by the 
superiority of his brothers service to God. The purity of his brother's character 
and the fideHty of his offering would rise to the vision of his remorseful soul. 
He would feel that he had slain the innocent. But the deed was done. _ He 
could not alter it. It must remain the dread companion of his life. This is 
one of the greatest sources of punishment to the sinner. (1). It is rendered 
so by the memory of man. There is no forgetfulness to man. Though the days 
pass, he carries their moral history in his soul for ever. (2) . It is rendered so 
by the conscience of man. The mere remembrance of a deed would be but little 
86 



HOMILETIQ COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



torment to a man, if his conscience did not refer him to its moral wrong. 
Conscience always points the murderer to his innocent victim. (3). It is 
rendered so by the will of God. God has so ordered the faculties of man that 
they shall inflict punishment upon the wrong-doer. Truly then Cain is 
introducing an element of sadness into his life by this crime, the poignancy of 
which he is little aware. By one sinful act men may make themselves wretched 
for ever. 

III. That it often ruins the temporal prosperity of a man. — '' And now 

art thou cursed from the earth which hath opened her mouth to receive thy 
brother's blood from thy hand ; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not 
henceforth yield unto thee her strength." Thus the temporal prospects of the 
murderer were to be ruined. Sin often destroys the trades and professions of 
men : — 1. It destroys their reinitation. In business, reputation is worth as 
much to a man as capital. If he is once detected in A\Tong doing or dishonesty 
of any kind, his trade will decline. Goodness is au enriching policy. 2. It 
ivastes their earnings. There are multitudes of men who w^ould be rich if they 
were only morally good and steady. What they earn by industry, they spend 
in revelling at night. They are drunken. They are improvident. They are 
reckless. Trade cannot long survive this. 3; It enfeebles their agencies. The 
ground was not to yield Cain its wonted produce. By sin men weaken their 
bodies, their minds, their souls, and all their instrumentalities of trade. Thus 
their temporal prospects are ruined thereby. 

IV. That it commits a man to a wandering and a restless life. — "A fugitive 
and a vagabond slialt thou be in the earth." 1. ^in makes men restless. It 
awakens within them restless impidses, ever changing moods, and strange fancies. 
They are as the great billows sweeping on from one rock to another in their 
ceaseless flow. Piety alone can render manhood stable and strong. But of 
this the wicked are destitute. Hence they are unpeaceful. Sin makes men 
restless : — (1). Because they have in a very brief term to seek new employments. 
Wicked men cannot remain long in the employment of one master, they are 
soon detected, Their past character follows tliem. (2). Because they hace 
soon to find new friends. The friendships of wicked men are not enduring. 
They are transient. They soon terminate in feud. And residence is very 
much determined by friendship, and the social feeling that is known to prevail 
amongst a people. (3). Because he has to avoid old rumours. Whenever the 
fugitive is conscious that the story of his past life and conduct has followed 
him, another change of locality becomes necessary. Hence wicked men arc 
the world's fugitives. 

V. That it crushes man with a heavy burden and almost renders him 
despairing. — " And Cain said unto the Lord, ]\Iy punishment is greater than 
I can bear." The sinner is deeply conscious of his punishment, knows tliat it 
is eiiuitable, and has no power whatever to resist it. Sin is a burden oppressive 
to the soul. It marks men so that the world knows and avoids tliem. It sends 
them into solitude. It fills them with despair. Their misery few can pity. 
The murderer should dwell alone. Lessons : — 1. That sin is the greatest cur.-ie 
of human life. 2. That God is the avenger of the good. 3. I hat the sinner 
is the greatest sufferer in the end. 4. That good men go from their v^orship 
into heaven. 



87 



CHAP. IV. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



SUGGESTIVE C0M3IENTS ON THE VERSES. 



The Two Brothers 



OR, Earthly Relationship the Medium or Spiritual 
Influence. 



"Am I my brother's keeper V^ — ver. 9. 

" And he brought him to Jesus.'" — John i. 42. 
Verse 9. Of the first two brothers who lived 
on this earth, the one hated and slew the other ; 
and when arraigned before God and his own 
conscience, denied the obligation of fraternal 
care. Of the first two brothers mentioned in 
the New Testament, the one, having found the 
Messiah, hastened to fetch the other. These 
brothers are representative men. Cain is the 
embodiment of the spii-it of hati-ed — selfishness 
— the world. Andrew of the spirit of lo^'e — 
self-sacrificing zeal — of Christ. 

I. That earthly relationships involve the 
duty of spiritual care. Relation, taken in 
its widest sense, if not the ground of all moral 
obligation, is certainly intimately connected 
therewith. No man can be a parent, a son, or a 
master, mthout being specially bound to care 
for his own. Men have to provide for their 
households in earthly things, and ought to in 
spiritual. In proportion to the closeness of the 
relationship is the force of the obligation. 

II. That earthly relationships afford pe- 
culiar opportunities for the discharge of 
this duty. God has constituted the varied 
relationships of life for purpose of promoting 
the moral good of man. Opportunity and 
power should be voluntarily used. Families 
have little thought of the opportunity they 
have of bringing each other to Jesus. 

III. That according as the Spirit of 
Christ or of selfishness is possessed, will 
this duty be fulfilled or neglected. Sin, 
whose essence is selfishness, is a severing prin- 
ciple. But Christ's Spirit is a spirit of love. 
We must come to Christ ourselves to get the 
incentive to this duty. 

IV. That concerning the performance of 
this duty an account will be required. 

And the Lord said unto Cain, &c. Vain will 
be excuse. God will sjjeak. So will conscience. 

V. That earthly relationships, according 
to the manner in which they are used, 
become an eternal blessing or bane.— 
{Homilist.) 

Hypocritical persecutors think to 
bury the saints and all their persecu- 
tions out of sight. 

Jehovah will have an account of His 
saints, though He leave them to be 
killed by such cruel ones. 

Hypocrisy and infidelity make men 
as impudent in denying sin as bold in 
committing it. 
88 



Hypocrisymakes sinners deal proudly 
■with God. 

Verse 10. When Cain thought tliat 
he had won, that he was now alone the 
beloved child, that Abel was wholly 
forgotten, then did the latter still live, 
stronger and mightier than before. 
Then does the Majesty on High assume 
His cause ; He cannot bear it. He 
cannot keep silence when His own are 
oppressed. And though they are 
crushed for a little while, they only 
rise to a more glorious and stronger 
state ; for they still live \Cramer\ 

It is not for slaughtered sheep and 
cattle slain that God asks ; it is for a 
slain man that He inquires. It follows 
that men have the hope of a resurrec- 
tion, the hope in a God who out of the 
bodily dearth can bear them up to 
everlasting life, and who asks after their 
blood as a very dear and precious 
thing. {Ps. cxvi. 15). What can be 
that still small voice which comes up 
from the earth, and which God hears 
high up in heaven ? Abel had, 
hitherto, whilst yet in life, endured 
violence with gentleness and silence ; 
how is it that now when he is dead, 
and rudely buried in the earth, he is 
impatient at the wrong? How is it 
that he who before spake not one word 
against his brother, now cries out so 
complainingly, and, by his cry, moves 
God to action ? Oppression and silence 
are no hindrance to God in judging 
the cause which the world so mistakenly 
fancies to be buried \^Luthe)'\. 

When man is in covenant with God 
nothing can overcome him ; he has 
Omnipotence on his side. Jehovah is 
the God of His dead saints. 

Verses 11 — 12. God followeth sin 
close to the heel with vengeance, ys 

The person of the sinner must.-?/ so 
the punishment of his sin. o little 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



The earth will not be quiet till mur- 
derers receive their doom. 

The place of sin God sometimes 
makes the place of vengeance. 

Adam had already become a stranger 
in the earth; Cain is now a fugitive 

Verses 1 3 — 16. God's sentence upon 
sinners makes them sensible, however 
senseless before. 

Terrors come invincibly upon hypo- 
critical persecutors of the Church. 

Man's habitation can give him no 
shelter when it is cursed by God. 

Jehovah is the Sovereign Dispenser 
of the life and death of His enemies ; 
it hangs upon His word. 

Jehovah may exempt persecutors 
from the stroke of man, l3ut not from 
His own wrath. 

Mysterious is the providence of God 
ill continuing and taking away the lives 
of His saints and enemies. That Abel 
should die and Cain live, and yet 



Cain be cursed of God and Abel 
blessed. 

God's threatenings of wrath end in 
execution of the same. 

Banishment from God's favour, tem- 
poral and eternal, is the doom of im- 
penitent persecutors. 

In all this it is evidently implied that 
the law according to which the mur- 
derer is to be slain by his fellows, is 
the original law of conscience and of 
nature. Cain, when his conscience is 
in part awakened by the dreadful de- 
nunciation of Divine wrath (verse 11), 
has enough of feeling to convince him 
that his fellow-men will consider them- 
selves entitled if not bound to slay 
him. And he does not — he dares not 
quarrel with the justice of such a pro- 
ceeding. God, on the other hand, 
clearly intimates that but for an ex- 
press prohibition, the murderer's fear 
Avould infallibly and justly have been 
realized \Dr. Candlis//]. 

When God is against a man the 
whole world is against him. 



MAIN IIOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH. — Verses 16—18. 

The Future of a God-forsaken Life. 

I. That a God-forsaken man is not cut off from the mitigating influences 
of domestic life. 1. Ihre the future of the cursed life has some relief. Cain 
had his wife to share his sorrow, and, for all we know, to help him in it. The 
domestic relationship is a great relief and comfort to a sad life. When all goes 
wrong without, it can find a refuge at home. 2. The children of a cursed life 
are placed at a moral disadvantage. They are the offspring of a God-forsaken 
parent. It is awful to commence life under these conditions. It is dangerous 
for their future. We should pity and strive to aid the little ones who are 
brought up in godless homes. They start in the world at a great peril. Thus 
Cain had the comfort of domestic life. One ray of mercy gleams even through 
the dark history of a God-forsaken man. 

II. That a God-forsaken man is likely very soon to seek satisfaction in 
earthly employments and things. Cain built a city. This would find occupa- 
tion for his energies. It would tend to divest his mind of his wicked past. It 
would enrich his poverty. It might become the home of his posterity. Here 
he coulcl dwell in safety, and without annoyance. Society would be much 
benefitted if many men of kindred spirit to Cain would to-day bid it farewell, 
to erect their own city in the present solitudes of nature. We could spare 
'-hem without serious loss. They would be better in a city alone. The conta- 

n.of their wicked life would then be stayed. It was no easy task for Cam to 

^ city. But when men are going to enrich themselves they think not of 

""hey would rather build a ciiij for themselves, than even a church for 



nOMILETIO COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



God. Many men are energetic in worldly enterprise, who have altogether 
fallen away from God. 

III. That often a God-forsaken man is disposed to try to build a rival to 
the Church from whence he has been driven. If he has been driven from God, 
he will engage his energies to build a city for Satan. In tliis work some wicked 
men are active. And to-day the city of evil is of vast dimensions, is thickly 
populated, but is weak in its foundation, and will ultimately be swept away by 
the prayerful effort of the Church, and the wrath of God. 

IV, That men whose names are not written in heaven are very anxious 
to make them famous on earth. They build cities rather than characters. 
They hope thus to awe the world by their exploit. To gain the admiration of 
men by their enterprise. A man who establishes a city is useful to society. But 
the man who does it may be a fugitive murderer. Whereas a man who builds up 
a good, noble life is doing a grand social work, and will be God-remembered. 
Lessons: 1. Earth cannot give the soul a true suhstitute for God. 2. Familfj 
relationshij) is unsanctified without Him. 3. Cities are useless without Him. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verses 16 — 18. The geographical the face of the Mosaic prohibition of 

situation of the land of Nod, in the such marriages, on the gTound that the 

front of Eden, where Cain settled after sons and daughters of Adam repre- 

his departure from the place or the sented not merely the family but the 

land of the revealed presence of God, genus, and that it was not till after 

cannot be determined. The name iYof/ the rise of several families that the 

denotes a land of Hight and banish- bands of fraternal and conjugal love 

ment, in contrast witli Eden, the land became distinct from one another, and 

of delight, where Jehovah Avalked with assumed fixed and mutually exclusive 

men. There Cain knew his wife. The forms, the violation of which is sin. 

text assumes it as self-evident that she [Keil and Belitzsch.] 
accompanied him in his exile ; also, By building a city we cannot fail to 

that she was a daughter of Adam, and detect Cain's desire to neutralize the 

consetpiently a sister of Cain. The curse of banishment, and create for 

marriage of brothers and sisters was his family a point of unity, as a com- 

inevitable in the case of the children pensation _ for the loss of unity in fel- 

of the first men, if the human race lowship with God, as well as the incli- 

was actually to descend from a single nation of the family of Cain for that 

pair, and may therefore be justified in which was earthly. [Delitzsch.] 

MAIN IIOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 19—26. 

Genesis iv. 23, 24. " And Lamecli said nnto his wives, Adah and Zillah, hear my voice 5 
ye wives of Lamech, hearken nnto my speech ; for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a 
young man to my hurt ; if Cain shall be avenged seven-fold, truly Lamech seventy and 
seveivfold." The longevity of the antediluvian jiatriarchs serves to keep pure tradition, the only 
way in which religious truth was then transmitted. It also caused character to be very fully 
developed — the righteous and the wicked — this instance. 

I. The case of Lamecli shews the effect of an ahaudonment of the Church's fellowship. 

1st' The end and use of ordinances. 2nd. These are enjoyed only in the Church. 3rd. Cain 
and his posterity forsook the fellowship of the Church, and lost its privileges. 4th. Mark the 
effect of this in Lamech. 1. In his government of himself, unrestrained by Divine precepts, a 
polygamist. 2. In household government, a tyrant. 3. In his character as a member of 
society, a murderer. One sin leads to another. 

II. The case of Lamech shews that outward prosperity is no sure mark of God's favour. 
1st. *We have seen Lamech's character. 2nd. He was remarkable for family prosperity 

90 



IIOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



(verses 20 — 22). 3rd. God's dealings with His people have all a reference to their spiritual and 
eternal good. 4th. Hence they have not uninterrupted prosperity. 5th. To the ungotUy, 
temporal good is cursed, and becomes a curse — increased responsibility, increased guilt. 6th. 
Splendid masked misery — embroidered shroud — sculptured tomb. 7th. The graces of poetry 
given here — speech of Lamech. 

III. The case of Lamecii shews that the dealings of Grod are misunderstood and 
misinterpreted by the ungodly. 1st. God protected Cain by a special Providence, that his 
sentence might take effect. 2nd. Lamech argiies from this, that he is under a similar special 
Pi'ovidence. 3rd. Common — they who despise Divine things stiU know as much of them as is 
convenient for their reasonings. Doctrines — depravity, election, justification by faith Inci- 
dents — Noah, David, Peter, malefactor on the cross — " All things work" &c. " Because sentence 
against," &c. Eccles. viii. 11. 4th. Satan thus uses something like the sword of the Spirit — 
infuses poison into the Word of Life. 5th. The Scriptm-es are thus by men made to injure 
tliem fatally. They wrest them to their own destruction — food in a weak stomach — a weed in a 
richsoi]. (1.) See the effects of a departure from God. (2.) Avoid the first step. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verses 19 — 22. Wives and offspring 
riiay be given to the most wicked in 
great number. 

All arts and endowments, liberal and 
mechanical, may be vouchsafed to un- 
godly men. 

Wicked men may be reno'wned for 
external inventions. 

All such endowments leave men with- 
out grace and without God. 

God's curse works through such pro- 
vidential privileges to the wicked. 

In the sixth generation from Cain, 
his descendants are noticed as intro- 
ducing great improvements and refine- 
ments into the S3^stem of society. Not 
only farming and manufactures, but 
music and poetry flourished among 
them. In farming, Jabal gave a new 
form to the occupations of the shepherd 
and the herdsman ; "he was the father 
of such as dwell in tents, and of such 
as have cattle" (verse 20). In manu- 
factures, Tubal Cain promoted the use 
of scientific tools, being the " instructor 
of every artificer in brass and iron" 
(verse 22). Jubal, again, excelled in 
the science of melody, standing at the 
head of the profession of " all such as 
handle the harp and organ" (verse 21). 
And Lamech himself, in his address to 
his two wives, gives the first specimen 
on record of primaeval poetry, or the art 
of versification in measurecl couplets, 
or parallel lines redoiibling and repeat- 
ing the sense (verses 23, 24). 

" Adah and ZiUah, hear my voice ! 

Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my 
speech : 



For I have slain a man to ray wounding, 
And a young man to my hurt. 
If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, 
Truly Lamech, seventy-and-sevenfold." 

\Dr. CamkHsJi.] 

Thus in the apostate race, driven to 
the use of their utmost natural in- 
genuity, and full of secular ambition, 
the pomp of cities, and the manifold 
inventions of a flourishing community, 
arose and prospered. They increased 
in power, in wealth, and in luxury. In 
almost all earthly advantages, they 
atbained to a superiority over the more 
simple and rural family of Seth. And 
they afford an instance of the high 
cultivation which a people may often 
possess who are altogether irreligious 
and ungodly, as well as of the progress 
which they may make in the arts and 
embellishments of life [Dr. Candelish], 

Verses 23, 24. Polygamy from the 
first has brought intestine vexations 
into families. 

A lustful spirit will be t3Tannical 
also. 

God's forbearance of some Avicked 
ones makes others impudent to sin. 

Lust will make men pervert the 
righteous word of God to their de- 
struction. 

Verses 25, 26. The character of the 
ungodly family of Cainites was now 
fully developed in Lamech and his 
children. The history, therefore, turns 
from them to indicate the progress of 
the godly race. After Abel's death a 
^ ^ 91 



CHAP. IV, 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



third son was born to Adam, to whom 
his mother gave the name of Seth, the 
appointed one, the compensation. 

We have here an account of the 
commencement of that worship of God 
which consists in prayer, praise, and 
thanksgiving, or in the acknowledg- 
ment and celebration of the mercy and 
help of Jehovah. While the family of 
Cainites, by the erection of a city, and 
the invention and development of 
worldly arts and business, were laying 
the foundation for the kingdom of this 



world ; the family of the Sethites be- 
gan, by united invocation of the name 
of the God of grace, to found and to 
erect the Kingdom of God [Keil and 
Delltzscli]. 

There is a time to break off sad 
lament for departed saints. 

Men's names are sometimes as pro- 
phecies and doctrines to God's church. 

God has set His church to grow and 
none can hinder it. 

God has stated times of renewing 
His worship where it has declined. 



ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER IV. 



EEV. WM. ADAMSON. 



Difficulty! Ver. 1. This was an hour of 
great difficulty — of intense anxiety — of ap- 
palling pei-plexity to Adam. Was he to be 
left alone — burdened with a weight of woe — 
abandoned to his own blind guidance — allowed 
to wander an5rwhere amid the Dffidalian 
mazes of ignoi-ance and folly ? No ; God 
would help him, if he would bvxt take hold of 
His Divine Hand. " Papa ! It is dark ! Take 
my hand ! " I reached out my hand, and toolc 
her tiny one in my own, clasping it firmly. A 
sigh of relief came up from her little heart. 
All her loneliness and fear were gone, and in 
a few moments she was sound sleep again. It 
was the voice of my little daughter sleeping in 
the crib beside my bed — at the very moment 
that I was awake amid the darkness of Provi- 
dence. I lay awake thinking, until my brain 
grew wild with luicertainty. Again and again 
I took up and considered the difficulties of my 
situation — looking to the light and the left 
for ways of extrication ; but all was dark. 
Presently my little girl's timid voice broke 
faintly on my ears ; and I, too — in an almost 
wild outburst of feeling — cried : " Father in 
Heaven, it is dark ; take, oh ! take my hand." 
Then a great peace fell on me. The terror of 
darkness was gone. So with Adam ; jierplexed 
at first, he learned to take the proffered hand 
of God :— 

" Child ! take My hand, 
Cling dose to Me : I'll lead thee through the 

land ; 
Trust My all-seeing care ; so shalt thou stand 
'Midst glory bright above." 

Employment ! Ver. 2. Lord Tenterden 
was proud to point out to his son the shop in 
which his father had shaved persons for a 
penny. But men, as Beecher comments, seem 
ashamed of labour. They aim to lead a life of 
emasculated idleness and laziness. I^ike the 
polyps that float useless and nasty upon the sea 
— aU jelly and flabby, no muscle or bone ; it 
opens and shuts — shuts and opens — sucks in 
and squirts out — such are these poor fools. 

92 



Their parents toiled and grew strong — biiilt up 
their forms of iron and bone ; but they them- 
selves are boneless, without sinew of mind or 
muscle of heart. 

" Better to sink beneath the shock, 
Than moulder piecemeal on the rock." 
— Byron. 

Types ! Ver. 3. Reflected light has the 
marvellous power of painting the object from 
which it is thrown ; hence our photographic 
likenesses. Thus the light of the Lord Jesus, 
radiating on our souls from the mirror of the 
Word, fixes His image there. The photo- 
gi-aphic discovery is a modern one, but God the 
Spirit has been painting the likeness of Christ 
upon souIh from the beginning. They are one 

"With Him, and in their souls His image bear, 
Rejoicing in the likeness." — Upiiam. 

Pire! Ver. 4. Fire was a symbol of the 
Divine Presence ; and in the literature and 
customs of the East the same thing is asserted. 
In the ancient writings, where the marriages 
of the gods and demi-gods are described, it is 
always said the ceremony was performed in the 
presence of the God of Fire. In respectable 
marriages in India, fire is an imjjortant element 
in their celeliration. It is made, says Roberts, 
of the wood of the mango-tree ; and is kindled 
in the centre of the room, while round it walk 
the bride and bridegroom amid the Brahmin 
incantations. Is this a perversion of the 
primaeval truth that God's appearance by fire 
was His witness to the mystical luiion between 
Abel's soul and His Son Jesus Christ ? 

" The smoke of sacrifice arose, and God 
Smell'd a sweet savour of obedient faith." 

Atonement! Ver. 4. The startling word 
"blood " would be the last a man would select 
for a symbol of peace and purity. While blood 
would render whatever it touches imj^ure, it 
is the only thing that takes away the stain of 
sin. Nearly every heathen nation has had this 



IIOMILETIQ COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



CHAP. IV. 



" moral intuition " of the necessity of atoning 
blood. It remained for Christianity to have 
an excrescence such as that of the Unitarians, 
who declaim against " a religion of blood, and 
atonement of blood." And yet is not the blood 
of atonement the leading idea in the Bilile 1 It 
is like the scarlet thread which runs through 
all the naval cloth — cut it where you please, 
that vein of crimson is visible. The word 
" atonement " is constantly used to signify the 
reconciliation to God by bloody sacrifices. The 
priest made atonement by sacrifice — first for 
his own sins, and then for the sins of all 
the people. 

" With blood — but not his own — the awful 
sign 
At once of sin's desert and guilt's remission, 
The Jew besought the clemency divine, 
The hope of mercy blending with con- 
trition. — Cornier. 

Disappointment ! Ver. 5. The offering 
of Cain was like a beautiful present, but there 
was no sorrow for sin in it — no asking for 
jiardon — and so God would not receive it. 
"Mother won't take my book," once sobbed 
out a little boy — holding in his hand a very 
Ijeautiful little volume prettily bound, with 
gilt edges to the leaves. It was a pretty pre- 
sent, purchased with the pocket-money which 
he had been for weeks saving for his mother's 
birthday ; and now she would not have it. 
But she did take the needle-book and pvu'se 
which her little daughter presented to her. 
Why did she refuse the beautiful gift of her 
boy ? He had been naughty — selfish, passionate, 
false — and had not at all repented ; and so 
when he brought his offering, she put it gently 
on one side, saying, " No, CharHe." He turned 
away sullenly, muttering that he did not care, 
and beginning to cherish feelings of a bad kind 
towards his sister. But after a while he came 
to himself — stole into the room, fiung himself 
on her shoulder, confessed his fault with tears, 
and found favour with his mother. By-and- 
by, she tenderly whispered, " You may bring 
your present." So God acted with Cain, but 
he would persist in obduracy of heart, of which 
one might say : — 

" You may as well do anything most hard. 
As seek to soften that (than which what's 
harder ?) " — Shakespeare. 

Blood ! Ver. 7. In nearly every country, 
men have felt that bloodshedding was an 
essential element of religious belief. A Thug 
at Meerut, who had been guilty of many 
murders, was arrested and placed in prison. 
Whilst there, a missionary visited him — 
brought him to embrace the Gospel, and to 
consent to confess his crunes. On his trial, he 
accordingly avowed the sins of his dreadful 
life — and after recounting murder after murder, 
he declared that he had committed them in 
the full belief that, by the shedding of the 
blood of each victim, he would not only please 
the dreadful goddess Kali, but also procure 
her favour for the life to come. He then took 



out a Bible from his linen vest, and said : 
" Had I but received this book sooner, I should 
not have done it, for I find that the blood of 
Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." 

" Lord, I believe Thy precious blood, 
Which at the mercy-seat of God 
Forever doth for sinners plead. 
For me — e'en for my soul — was shed." 
— Wedeij. 

Murder ! Ver. 7. " Blood will out " is 
the blunt phrase of aai old proverb or saw. 
Did Cain hide the body ? Yet no matter, 
whether the lifeless corpse lay with its face 
open to the noonday sun, or buried in the leafy 
recesses of some thickset grove, or shrouded in 
the gloomy damjis of some subterranean 
cavern : God could see it. He coiild hear the 
caU of Justice. How strangely deeds of blood 
are disclosed ! Two French merchants, re- 
lates Clarke, were travelling to a fair, and, 
while passing through a wood, one of them 
murdered the other, and robbed him of his 
money. After burying him to prevent dis- 
covery, he jDroceeded on his journey ; but the 
murdered man's dog remained behind. His 
howling attracted passers-by, who were led to 
search the spot. The fair being ended, they 
watched the return of the merchants ; and 
the murderer no sooner made his appearance 
than the dog sprung furiously upon him. " Be 
.sixre your sin will find you out." How terribly 
was this exemplified in the case of Eugene 
Aram, whose very conscience at last unfolded 
the tale : — 

" He told how murderers walk the earth 
Beneath the curse of Cain, 
With crimson clouds before their eyes. 
And flames about their brain."' — Hood. 

Conscience ! Ver. 8. Away in the wilds 
of New Zealand, a noble champion of the Cross, 
once overheard a native voice from amid a 
tangled maze of brushwood praying that God 
would make sin as sensitive to his soul as a 
speck of dust is to the ajsple of the eye. Keep 
your conscience tender, tender as the eye that 
closes its lids against an atom of dust ; or as 
that sensitive plant which shrinks wlien its 
leaves are touched, ay, even when the breath 
of the mouth falls on it. Had Cain bvit heeded 
this ! Had he only taken notice of the first 
speck of dust that fell, of the first prick of the 
pin that reached, of the first breath of sin that 
rested on his conscience, all might have been 
well. There is a species of poplar, whose leaves 
are rustled by a breeze too faint to stir thefoilage 
of other trees ; and such should have been the 
conscience of Cain, easily moved by the "little 
sins " of envy and dislike. There would then 
have been no cry of brother's blood, no need 
for him to wander forth — 

" Like a deer in the fright of the chase. 
With a fire in his heart, and a brand on his 
face." 

Retribution ! Ver. 8. The deed is done, 
and blood stains the hand of Cain, a brother's 

93 



IIOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



blood. The ocean, with all its fierce and 
furious waves, cannot wash out the scarlet dye. 
Agonies of remorse cannot recall it. And yet 
these probably were not slight. Some have 
supposed that he showed no compunction for 
the cruel crime, and that his heart was ice. 
But if it was ice, it was that of the Arctic, 
beneath whose thick crust throb the waves, 
and move the reptiles of the deep. Tar down 
within his breast, the waters of remorse were 
surging and muddy ; and — 
" From that day forth no place to him could be 
So lonely, but that thence might come a pang 
Brought from without to inward misery." — 

Wordsioortli. 

Conviction ! Ver. 9. When Kicliard the 
Lion was on his return from the Holy Land, 
he was taken caj^tive by his enemy the Arch- 
duke of Austria, and thro\vn into an unknown 
dungeon. His favorite minstrel went in search 
of him, having only the clue that his master 
was imprisoned in a castle in some mountain- 
forest. At last his music found out the prison, 
for one day when Blondel was playing his 
favorite air beneath the castle wall, Richard 
recognized the music and voice. Wlien Adam 
was captive in Satan's dungeon, God's Divine 
voice called him forth to i^enitence in vain. 
Now the same voice of Divine music seeks to 
awaken echoes in the heart of Cain, to arouse 
him to contrition hy the consciousness of con- 
viction. But aU in vain ! No ; the hardened 
heart breaks not. The suUen lips pour forth 
no cry for pardon. No contrition asks for 
mercy, llather does his answer imply reproach, 
as when Adam said : The woman whom 
Thou gavest me~ 

" The unclean spirit 
That from my childhood up, hath tortured me, 
Hatli been too cunning and too strong for me. 
Am I to blame for this ? " 

Kemorse ! Ver. 9. Tiberius felt the re- 
morse of conscience so violent, that he pro- 
tested to the senate that he suffered death 
daily ; and Trapp tells us of Richard III that, 
after the murder of his two innocent nephews, 
he had fearful dreams and visions, would leap 
out of his bed, and, catching his sword, Avould 
go distractedly about the chamber, everywhere 
seeking to find out the cause of his own-occa- 
sioned disquiet. If, therefore, men more or 
less familiarized with crime and deeds of hlood, 
had the fangs of the serpent ever probing their 
breasts, is it unreasonable to conclude that 
Cain knew seasons of sad regrets ? If he had 
not, God's enquiry soon stirred up the pangs ! 
The cruel Montassar, having assassinated his 
father, was one day admiring a beautiful 
painting of a man on horseback, Avith a 
diadem encircling his head, and a Persian 
inscription. Enquiring the significance of the 
\\'ords, he was told that they were : " I am 
Shiunjeh, the son of Kosru, who murdered my 
father, and possessed the crown only sis 
months." Montassar turned pale, horrors of 
remorse at once seized on huu, frightful dreams 
94 



interrupted his slumbers until he died. And 
no sooner did God address the first fratricide, 
than conscience roused herself to inflict poignant 
pains : — 

" O the wrath of the Lord is a terrible thing ! 
Like the tempest that withers the blossoms of 

spring, 
Like the tlumder that bursts on the summer's 

domain, 
It fell on the head of the homicide Cain." 

Guilt '. (Ver. 12.) Pilkington very excel- 
lently likens the pangs of conscious guilt to the 
grouiidswell after a storm, which mariners tell us 
appears long after the storm has ceased, and far 
off from its locality. They come up in awful 
vividness ; as when a flash of lightning reveals 
hut for a moment the dangers of a shipwrecked 
crew. They have long been covered up, but only 
covered like the carvings of some old minster, or 
like that invisible ink which needs but the tire 
to bring out legibly the handwriting on the wall 
of conscience. For a moment are the stings of 
some ; but not so Cain's — there they remained, 
acute and anguished ; and of him we may say 
figuratively: — 

" As he plodded on, with sullen clang 
A sound of chains aloud the desert rang." 

Martyrs! (Ver. 12.) "How early," saj's 
Bishop Hall, "did martyrdom come into the 
world ! " The first man that died — died for 
religion ; and the greatest lesson, as Green re- 
marks in this chapter, is that the first man saved 
went to heaven just as all of us must do — if we 
are to be saved at all. It must have been a 
strange, yet happy day for the angels of God 
when His spirit came among them from this far- 
off world. He had sinned — they had never fallen. 
He had laboured and sorrowed — they had never 
shed a tear for themselves. He had died — they 
knew not what death was. But now his soul 
is among them — singing, not their song, but a new 
one — one all his own. As he sings, how every 
seraphic harp is silent, and every seraphic heart is 
still to hear 

" The song that ne'er was sung before 
A sinner reached the heavenly shore ; 
And now does sound for evermore." 

Disclosure! (Ver. 9.) How long it was be- 
fore God met him, we are not told — some sup- 
pose that it was on his way back from the deed 
of blood. Others think that probably days and 
weeks elapsed — that the parents, like Jacob, had 
come to believe Abel dead at the hands of the wild 
beasts, and that possibly Cain was all the more 
fondly cherished. If so, was Cain's conscience at 
ease ? Or, did he have his hours of moodiness, 
when his wondering parents heard him start and 
mutter : — 

" Too late ! Too late ! I shall not see him more 
Among the living ! That sweet, patient face 
Will never more rebuke me ?" 

Very recently, a murderer buried his victim in the 
warehouse attached to his business premises. For 
months, the disconsolate parents sought their 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY i GENESIS. 



daiieliter far and near —besought her paramour to 
disclose the secret of her absence ; but in vain. 
For twelve long weary months no trace of the 
missing one could be discovered ; and then a 
trivial act of carelessness revealed the mystery of 
death. Yet, he had been heard to wish at times 
that he had never been born, or was dead : — 

" It were a mercy 
That I were dead, or never had been born." — 

Longfelloiv, 

Condemnation! Ver. 13. Very little idea 
can be formed of the sufferings of Cain, when we 
read that God visited him with life-long remorse. 
John Randolph, in his last illness, said to his 
doctor : " Remorse ! Remorse ! Remorse ! Let 
me see the word ! show it to me in a dictionary." 
There being none at hand, he asked the surgeon 
to write it out for him, then having looked at it 
carefully, he exclaimed : " Remorse ! you do not 
know what it ineans." Happy are those who 
never know. It gives, as Thomas says, a terrible 
form and a horrible voice to everything beautiful 
and musical without. It is recorded of Bessus — 
a native of Polonia in Greece — that the notes of 
birds were so insufferable to him, as they never 
ceased chirping the murder of his father — that he 
would tear down their nests and destroy both 
young and old. The music of the sweet songsters 
of the grove were as the shrieks of hell to a guilty 
conscience. And how terribly would the familiar 
things of life become to Cain a source of agony ! 

" The kiss of his children shall scorch him like 

flame, 
When he thinks of the curse that hangs over 

his name, 
And the wife of his bosom — the faithful and 

fair, 
Can mix no sweet drop in his cup of despair : 
For her tender caress, and her innocent breath. 
But still in his soul the hot embers of death" — 

Knoi'. 

Godless Prosperity ! (Verse 20.) How 
pitifull}'^ foolish, exclaims Law, are the votaries of 
the world ! They may have gifts, which glitter 
splendidly ; but it- is only for a speck of time. 
Their brightest sun soon sets in darkest night. 
Their joys are no true joys, while they remain ; 
but their continuance is a fleeting dream. Their 
flowers have many a thorn, and in the plucking 
fade. Their fruitless blossoms soon decay. Their 
eyes stand out with fatness, they have often more 
than heart could wish ; and j'et ail this has its 
end — like the pampered sacrificial victim described 
in Prescot's History of Mexico. For twelve 
months, the intended sacrifice was allowed to revel 
in every luxury — to indulge in every pleasure ; 
only to be laid on the altar and have his palpi- 
tating heart torn from his breast. " What shall 
I come to, father," exclaimed a young man, " if I 
go on prospering in this way ?" — to which enquiry 



the parent tersely and tritely responded : " The 
grave." The tinsel glare, says Seeker, is too apt 
to offend the weak eyes of a saint. Alas ! why 
should we envy him a little light, who is to 
be shrouded in everlasting darkness ? For 

" When Fortune, thus has tossed her child in air. 
Snatched from the covert of an humble state. 
How often have I seen him dropped at once ! 
Our morning's envy ! and our evening's sigh ! " 

■ — Young. 

First Step ! Evil once introduced spreads as 
a flame amongst dry stubble. The weed— once 
rooted — can hardly be eradicated ; and, like that 
great aquatic plant introduced from America, will 
spread on all sides. Mortify the first sin ; for by 
yielding to it you may found a pyramid of miserj'. 
One fault indulged in soon swells into a deepening 
torrent, and widens into a boundless sea. One 
little leak may sink the boldest ship. It is said 
of Tiberius that, whilst Augustus ruled, he was 
no way tainted in his reputation ; but that, when 
once he gave way to sin, there was no crime to 
which he was not accessory. When Lamech was 
yet a youth, he probably displayed no disposition 
to great crimes ; but no sooner had he married two 
wives in violation of the Divine command than he 
gradually loosened all moral restrictions, and gave 
full vent to his passions — culminating in homicide. 
Avoid the first step ! 

" One mischief entered brings another in; 
The second pulls a third - the third draws more, 

And they for all the rest, set ope the door." 

Smith. 

Church! (Ver. 26.) The little seed which 
prophecy planted in Eden grows age by age more vast 
than that tree which the prophet beheld in vision, 
whose height reached unto heaven, and the sight 
thereof to the end of all the earth. " There are 
lofty heights in nature," says Bate, which catch 
the morning sun before it has risen in the valleys, 
and which stand up glowing in the golden light 
when the >-hades of evening have wrapped these 
in deepening dusk. And so there are countries in 
which the Church has shed her light far and wide, 
while others remain in gloom of heathen ignorance. 
But as the sun before it has completed its circuit 
lights up every vale and hill, so the Church shall grow 
to her full dimensions in spite of all hindrances. 
It has entwined its roots through all the shadowy 
institutions of the elder dispensation, and stan fling 
tall and erect in the midst of the new, it defies — 
to use the sentiment of Wiseman — the whirlwind 
and the lightning, the draught and scorching sun. 
Like the prophet's vine — it will spread its branches 
to the uttermost parts of the earth, to feed them 
with the sweetest fruits of holiness. 

" Long as the world itself shall last. 

The sacred Banyan still shall spread. 
From clime to clime — from age to age. 
Its sheltering shadow shall be shed." 



26 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : EXODUS. 



CHAPTER V. 

Critical Notes. —Notwithstanding the measure of difficulty standing in the way of ascer- 
taining the meaning of the projjer names of Scrii^ture, the subject cannot be wisely neglected: 
what we do know is every now and then most striking and suggestive ; and what we do not 
know, and with existing apjiliances cannot learn, occasionally possesses an interest almost 
amounting to fascination. AVe know enough to feel intensely curious to know more. In fact, 
these old names have the charm of fossils — they were once living, and had a place in a living 
sphere of human hopes and fears, and passions and disappointments ; and by them we seem 
every now and then to get a glimpse into a now buried world. These glimpses come like 
snatches of reality, and may be of consideraljle indirect service, even where we most feel that 
positive knowledge eUules our grasp. In the follo-\%nng summary of the meanings (certain or 
probable) of the proper names of this chapter, the reader will understand the appended initials 
to signify as follows : — Gr, Gesenius ; F, Fiirst ; D, Davies ; M, Murphy. Where the meaning 
has had to be gleaned inf erentially from the author, it is enclosed in parenthetical marks " ( ) " : 
where the author expressly intimates a doubt as to the signification of a name, it is followed by 
the sign of interrogation " ? " 

1. Adam]"Eed" ? G. ; "made of dust or earth," F. ; "ruddy"? but prob. "earth born," 
D. ; "red" (from red soil), M. — 3. Seth] "Placing," "setting," G. ; " compensation," F. ; prob. 
"substitute," D. ; "placed," "put," M. — 6. Enos] "Mortal, decaying man," F. ; "man," D. ; 
"man," "sickly," M. — 9. Cainan] "Possession" ? G. ; "a child, one begotten," F. ; "smith," or 
" lancer," D. ; "possessor" or "spearsman," M.— 12. Mahalaleel] "Praise of God," G., D., M. ; 
" pi-aise or splendour of El," F. — 15. Jared] "Descent," G., D. ; "low groimd," " water," or 
"marching down," F. ; "going down," M. — 18. Enoch] "Initiated," or "initiating," G. ; 
" teacher," " initiator," F. ; " teaching," or " initiation "? D. ; "initiation," "instruction," M. 
. — 21. Methuselah] "Man of a dart," G. ; "man of military arms," F. ; " missile man," D. ; 
"man of the missile," M— .25. Lamech] "Strong," or "young man," G. ; " overthrower " (of 
enemies;, "mid-man," F. ; "destroyer," D. ; "man of prayer," "youth," M. — 29. Noah] 
(" Eest "), G. ; " consolation," or " rest," F. ; " rest," or " comfort," D. ; " rest," M.— 33. Shem] 
("Name"), G. ; "name," "renown," "height," F. ; "celebrity," D. ; "name," "fame," M- 
Ham] "Hot," G., M. ; "dark-coloured," "black," F. ;_" swarthy," D.— Japhet] "Widely- 
extending," G. ; "extender," or "spreader" ; "or "beautiful" '{ (of white races), F. ; "exten- 
sion," D. ; " spreading," M. 

" In general little reliance can be placed upon the etymological significance of these early 
names as given liy tlie lexicographers, whether we regard them as purely Hebrew, or as having 
been transfei-red from some older Shemitic tongue. In a few of them, however, there appear 
contrasts that can hardly be mistaken. Thus, for example, between Seth, the estaUished, the 
firm, and Enosh, the Kcah, the frail i^poTost mortaUs, homo), the contrast is similar to that 
between Cain and Abel {gain, as the promised seed, and ranii;/ or disappointment), as though 
the hopes of men, from generation to generation, were alternately rising and falling." — Prof. T. 
Leicis, in Langc's " Genesis." 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 1—32. 

Distinguished Men. 

History is full of distinguished men, and it is interesting- to study how they 
became so. There are many methods of becoming a distinguished man, and we 
shall notice a few as suggested by the names contained in this immortal chapter 
of early historj^ 

I. Some men are rendered distinguished by the peculiarity of the 
times in which they live. Adam was thus distinguished. He was the first 
human being to inhabit the earth, to look out upon its bright glories, and to 
care for its produce. He was the first hunan being to hold sweet communion 
with God, and to feel the rapture of holy prayer. He was iilso^ with his wife, 
the first human being to be led astray^ into the woful experiences of sin, by the 
devil. Hence Adam as the first man is invested with a most wonderful and 
interesting history, from the time of his coming into the world, over which he 
96 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



had no control. God made him, and he entered into Hfe under these unexcep- 
tionable circumstances. Hence his fame. Had Adam lived in these days the 
probabilities are that his name would have been unknown to the crowd, and 
unspoken by the multitude. He was not by any means a man of great genius. 
We are not aware that he had any extraordinary mental or moral gifts, 
he was commonplace in the measure of his soul. We do not read that 
like Cain he built a city, or that like Jabal he was the father of such as dwelt 
in tents, or that like Jubal he was efficient in musical arts and accomplishments, 
or that like Tubal Cain he was capable of numerous mechanical artifices. He 
was simply an ordinary man, who in different times, under less extraordinary 
circumstances, would not have attracted the slightest public attention, and in 
this respect Adam is a type of multitudes whose lives are chronicled in the 
world's history. They were not intrinsically great men, either in their intellectual 
abilities or moral sentiments. They never once in their lives had a thought so 
sublime that they were under the necessity of calling for pen and ink to pursue 
an angel clad in such bright clotliing. They were never capable of moral 
passion. Their lives were a stagnation, there were no great billows of impulse 
rolling in as from a great heart, indicative of the wild music of the soul. 
They were men, and that was all. You could see all they were. You could 
hear all they had. They were possessed of no unknown quality of being. Yet 
they rise to fame. Yes ! But there was nothing meritorious in their notoriety. 
They were renowned because they could not help it. Some men are fortunate 
in the accidents of their lives. They happen to be born in a certain family, at 
a certain time, and as a consequence they become the world's rulers and 
favourites. Such men should learn that a true and worthy fame is not the out- 
come of time or circumstance, but of earnest personal effort and achievement. 
It is not unlikely that the man who is born a hero may die a fool. He will be 
greater at his birth than at his death. At his birth wise men may come to pay 
liim homage, but at his death there may be none to attend his funeral. Thus 
we find that some are distinguished men from the mere circumstances of their 
advent into the world. 

II. That some men are rendered distinguished by their marvellous longevity. 

— ^We find that the men whose names are given in this list were remarkable for 
the length of their lives, Methuselah living to the age of nine hundred and 
sixty-nine years. There are multitudes of men who are remarkable for nothing 
else but their longevity. They had a good physical manhood, and consequently 
they were enabled to endure the storm of life for many years. They were men 
of bone and muscle rather than of thought and moral energy. They would be 
more useful in the army than in the church ; better soldiers than Christian 
workers. But we gauge men's lives by a wrong estimate. We cannot measure 
a man's life by the number of years he has passed in the burden and battle of 
the world. A long life may be lived in a very short space of time, and a 
number of years may be the chronicle of a brief life. Man's truest life is spent 
. in and measured by deeds, thoughts, sympathies, and heroic activities. A man 
may live a long life in one day. He has during the day been instrumental 
in the salvation of one soul, then in that day he has lived a short eternity. 
A man who writes in a year a thoughtful book, which shall instruct and culture 
the minds of men, lives a century in that brief space of time. The schoolmaster 
who teaches a boy to think, the minister who helps men to be pure and good, 
the gentle spirits who aid by visitation and prayer the sorrowful and tlie sick, 
these are the world's longest lives, these are the world's true Methuselahs. 
Hence we should endeavour to live well if we would live long. Immortality 
will consist in moral goodness rather than in the flight of ages. But society is 
hardly awake to this measurement of time and this computation of the years, 

L 97 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



and hence it still continues to laud tlie man of three score years and ten, and to 
reckon him amongst its curiosities. Society gives fame to many men because 
it regards them in this light. We cannot say that such a fame is worthy of 
envy. Grey hairs, when found in the paths of rectitude, are worthy of all 
honour and respect, but he who can find no other claim upon the world's admi- 
ration is destitute of that which can alone win the truest homage of manlcind. 

III. That some men are rendered distinguished by the villainy of their 
moral conduct. There are many in this list whose lives are characterized by 
utter degeneracy. In the first verse we are told that God created man in his 
ova\ pure image, and then by way of contrast, and of shewing the extent of the 
fall of man, we have given several names by way of illustration. The image of 
God and the life of man is in terrible contrast. But it is well that sin is not 
always made known in its full extent in human history. These verses do not 
contain a record of the sins of which some of the men named were guilty. They 
sum up the life in a name. History cannot write the wickedness of men. It is 
too dark for the pen to sketch. It would be too awful for the world to read and 
contemplate. When men die it is well that the remembrance of their sins 
should be buried with them. Their villainies are best forgotten. But history 
will not altogether permit the sins of men to pass from remembrance. The 
annals ol crime soon allow their heroes to banish from the world's memory. 
But monarchs who have been despots, place-seekers who have been murderers, 
and the outbreaks of popular rage, are retained on the pages of history. And 

.these_ men owe their historic distinction to their crimes. Crime soon brings 
men into unenviable fame ; a fame they had better be without. 

IV. That some men are rendered distinguished by their ancestral line of 
descent. This chapter contains the line from Adam to Noah, iu which are stated 
some common particulars concerning all, and certain special details concerning 
three of them. The genealogy is traced to the tenth in descent from Adam and 
terminates with the flood. The scope of the chapter is to mark out the line of 
faith, and hope, and hohness from Adam, the first head of the human race to 
Noah, who became eventually the second natural head of it. And so it is, 
some men are only known in the line of their ancestral relationships. They are 
slight links in a great chain. They are feeble lights in a grand constellation. 
Their greatness is reflected from the toils or achievements of others who have 
lived before them. They catch a borrowed lustre. Such lives are the relief 
of history. They subdue its grandeur. They contrast with its pageantry. 
They_ make it approachable. If the pages of history were filled with the 
exploits and records of men essentially and intrinsically great, they would be 
unapproachable by the ordinary reader. Hence we gladly welcome, now and 
then in its annals, the little manhood of great ancestry, but destitute of 
moral force. 

_ V. That some men are rendered distinguished by their true and exalted 
piety. — We are told in this chapter, that Enoch walked with God and was not, 
for God took him. This is a distinction of the very truest kind, it arises from 
the moral purity of the soul. It is not always that the men who walk the most 
intimately with God are the most famous on earth. Sometimes they are per- 
secuted. They are often rejected by the common multitude. Some envy the 
beauty of their moral characters. Others mock them. But the favour of 
national crowds is very fickle and transient, and is not worth having. But the 
favour of all worthy spirits will ever be the heritage of the good. Heaven will 
also take notice of them, and cause its benediction to rest upon them. Good 
m-en are the true kings of the world, the true prophets, the great victors, and 
the only ones worthy of permanent fame and celebration. And when the great 
98 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



ones of the earth, whose jDraise has been from men, shall be forgotten, then the 
good shall shine as stars in the Kingdom of God for ever and ever. Then let 
all young men seek the distinction which cometli from above, that only is worthy 
their search, and alone will repay the energies of their immortal souls. Lessons: — 
1. That a good old age is often the heritage of wan. 2. That noble lineage is 
the heritage of others. 3. That true piety may he the heritage of all. 4. That 
true piety has a substantial reward as well as a permanent record. 

I. The longevity of the antediluvian race. Here are men who lived through periods 
varying from eight hundred to almost a thousand years. This lonrjevity minht be explained on 
natural principles. These men inherited good constitutions ; they were of stalwart frames, with 
pure blood coursing through their veins, and every part of their organization well strung together. 
The varying temperatures, the fogs and malaria belonging to these western regions, so inimical 
to health, had no place in their land. Their diet was simple ; those intoxicating beverages and 
unwholesome confectionaries which come to our tables were probably unk^o^vn to them. They 
knew not the anxieties and competitions of the merchant. Who but God can tell how long the 
human body organically strong, and thus guarded, would live? Their lonr/evity zcas for special 
ends. It served to populate tlie world. It supplied the want of a written revelation. From the 
death of Adam to the call of Abraham was a period of about eleven hundred years. Diu-ing that 
period a large population grew, discoveries were made, great deeds were wrought, great com- 
munications received from God ; but there* was no historian to hand down to the children the 
exijeriences of their sires. Thus the longevity of man supplied the place of books. Their longevity 
contributed to their depravity. The fear of death somewhat restrains evil even in the worst men. 
Death is a useful minister. vVere the Herods, the Neros, the Napoleons to live nine hundred 
years, would society be better than heU ? As long as depravity is in the world, it is necessary 
there should be mortality. 

II. The poverty of human history. All that we have of the human race for upwards of a 
thousand years is to be found in these verses. The myriads who lived during this period sustained 
the same relation to each other, to God, and to the universe as we do ; and the ideas, feelings 
and habits common to the race were theirs. Each had a history of his own, but there is no 
record, the pale of oblivion is over them. They are only mentioned. There is an awfixl sadness 
in this. To leave the woi'ld in which we have lived and laboured, enjoyed and suffered, and to 
be forgotten for ever, is humbling to our vanity, and sickening to our very heart. The millions 
are forgotten as a dream, a few years after their death. A few by literature and art are kept in 
memory a little longer ; but the hour comes with them, when the last letter in their names is 
washed out from the sands of life by the tidal wave of time. 

III. The materializing: tendencies of sin. All that is recorded here of these great men, 
except Enoch, is that they begat sons and daughters. There is no harm in this, but there is no 
virtue in it. There is in it that which indicates their alliance with the lower creation, nothing to 
indicate their alliance with the spiritual universe and -with God. There is no spiritual act here 
recorded of them. It is not said that they read the meaning of some page in the volume of 
nature, or that they reared altars to the God of heaven. Why are these things not recorded ? 
Because not accomplished ? Why ? Had they not souls ? Had they not a God to worship ? 
Their souls were materialized. The material pleasures are the pleasures taught by the million. 

IV. The inevitableness of man's mortality. These men lived hundreds of years, yet it is 
said of each, " he died." Death may delay his work, but does not forget his mission. No money 
can bribe death, no power can avert his blow. 

" All that tread 
The globe, are but a handful to the tribes 
That slumber in its bosom." 

V. The blessedness of practical G-odliness. " Enoch walked with God." This expression 
implies an abiding consciousness of God' s presence. He "saw Him who is invisible." The Divine 
presence was not with him a mere dogma ; it was a living conscious fact. He felt God nearer 
to him than nature, nearer than any other being, the constant companion of his spirit. The 
language implies cordial felloicship. To walk with another implies a mutual sympathy and 
agreement of soid. Spiritual ptrogress. He walks, every step bearing him onward into higher 
truths and richer experiences. — {Homilist.) 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verses 1 — 2. Providence has made The genealogy of the Church re- 

a sufficient register of the rise, growth, vealed by God ought to be known and 

and state of the Church to satisfy faith believed by men. 

rather than curiosity. God's will is that His Church should 

^ - 99 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



be propagated by generation, not by 
creation. 

The generations of the Church were 
ordered to be from Adam fallen, that 
grace might appear. 

The record of man's creation in God's 
image is necessary to be studied by 
man in his fall. 

God's blessing only makes man fruit- 
ful to propagate His Church. 

One name and nature has God given 
to both sexes of man, that they may 
learn their union in conjugal estate. 

Verses 3—5. The Spirit of God 
hath taken care to give a sufficient 
chronology unto the Church from the 

fil'St. 

Some distance of time may be in 
delaying the reforming seed of the 
Church, but it shall come. 

Sinful Adam begets his seed in his 
full image, sinful as himself. 

Grace can make a sinful seed of man 
to be a settled Church reformer. 

Providence gave large progenies, and 
long time, to the first fathers. 

The Spirit has ■willingly silenced the 
history of all the first times but of the 
Church. 

God's pleasure has been to give the 
world a full witness of his creation. 



Enoch, one of the World's Great 
Teachers. 

Verse 22—24. (Compare Gen. v. 22—24 ; 
Hebrews xi. 5 ; and Jude 14, 15.) There are 
three very strange things that strike us in con- 
nection with the history of Enoch. It is 
Strange that so little is said about Jdm. The 
verses we have read comprehend all our reli- 
able knowledge of him. It is true that there 
is a book called by his name — a book which, 
al&ough perhaps as ancient as the Epistles, is 
evidently apocryphal, and therefore not to be 
trusted. Reference is also made to him in 
Ecclesiasticus, a book which, although bound 
up in some of our Bibles, h,\s no right to a 
place in canonical writings. One might have 
expected that a man who lived so many years 
as he did, lived a life so divine and useful, 
would have had an ampler history in the Book 
of God. Another thing that sti-ikes us as 
strange in this man's history is tlic compara- 
tive shortness of his stay on earth. It is true 
that he was here thi-ee hundred and sixty-five 
years, a period which, although commanding a 
space equal to ten of oiu- generations, was not 

lOQ 



so much as half of the age of- many of his con- 
temporaries. We should have thought that 
he would have lived longer than the wicked 
around him. Another thing that strikes us as 
strange in this man's history is the manifest 
singularity of the life he lived, 

I. He taug-ht the -wrorld by his life. 1. 

" He ivalked with God." 2. " He had the tes- 
timony that he 2:)leased God." How this testi- 
mony came to him we are not told. It is not 
necessary to suppose that it came in any mira- 
culous way. It was the testimony of his 
conscience. How blessed such consciousness. 
Such a life as his was indeed a teaching life. 
As the load-star seems to beam more brilliantly 
in the fii-mament, the darker grows the clouds 
that float about it, so Enoch's life must have 
been a luminous power in his age of black 
depravity. There is no teaching like life 
teaching. All mere verbal and professional 
teaching is as the tinkling cymbal to this true 
trump of God. It is the most intelligible 
teaching. Men reason against your Paleys, ■ 
but they can't reason against a good life. It 
is the most constant teaching. Letter and 
logic teaching is only occasional. But life 
teaching is constant. Its light streams through 
all the acts and events of every day life. It is 
not the brooldet that rattles after the shower, 
and is silent in the drought, but it is the 
perennial river rolling in all seasons, skirting 
its pathway with life and beauty, and reflect- 
ing on its bosom the heavens of God. 

II. He taught the world by his trans- 
lation. " lie was not." The expression, 
" was not found," suggests that he was missed 
and sought for. Such a man would be missed. 
No doubt his age knew him well. How he 
was taken to heaven we know not. We learn 
— 1. I'hat death is not a necessity of Ituman 
nature. He did not see death. There are 
those who say that men are made to die ; that, 
like all organized bodies, their dissolution is 
inevitable ; that death wdth them, as with all 
animal existence, is a law of natvire. Hence 
they say that the doctrine that men die be- 
cause of sin is a mere theological fiction. . It is 
also said that God intended men to die, other- 
wise He would not have allowed them to 
multiply so rapidly without giving them a 
world immeasurably larger than this. The 
translation of Enoch is an answer to all this. 
It shows that if death is the law of man's 
nature, God is stronger than law, and can 
annul it at His pleasui-e. If the earth can 
only support a limited number of men, God 
could have taken a thousand generations in 
the same way. 2. That there is a sphere of 
human existence beyond this. Perhaps the men 
in those antediluvian times had lost all ideas 
of a future state of being. The translation of 
Enoch would reveal another sf)here of life to 
them. 3. That there is a God in the universe 
who approves of goodness. 4. That the master- 
ing 0/ sin is the way to a grand destiny. Just 
as a man overcomes sin, and walks closely with 
his Maker, he gets translated. 



HO MI LET 10 COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. V. 



m. He taught the world by His preach- 
■ing". Jude gives a specimen of his preaching, 
and it includes three things : — 1. The advent of 
the Judge. 2. The gathering of the saints. 
3. The conversion of sinners. — [Homilist.) 



The Heavenly Walk. 

I. That it may be pursued notwith- 
standing^ the prevalency of sin around. 
■The age in which Enoch lived was, 
probaloly, the darkest the world has 
€ver known. It had wandered from 
God in thought, in purpose, in worship, 
and in life. It was altogether degene- 
rate. We have a Divine description 
of it. 1. Lust was made the basis of 
onarriage. " And the sons of God saw 
the daughters of men that thej^ were 
fair ; and they took them wives of all 
which they chose." 2. The longevity 
of jnan 2vas p)'od active of sin. "And 
the Lord said, my spirit shall not 
always strive with man, for that he 
also is flesh : yet his days shall 
be a hundred and twenty years." 
3. Violence was 'prevalent amongst 
men. " There were giants in the 
earth in those days." " And God saw 
that the wickedness of man was great 
in the earth, and that every imagi- 
nation of the thoughts of his heart 
was only evil continually." This is 
God s description of the age in which 
Enoch was called to live. He was one 
star amid the darkness. He was one 
ray of light in the terrible storm of 
evil. He was one flower in that neg- 
lected garden. He was an oasis in 
the desert of wickedness. His life 
was in sublime contrast to all around 
him. He was the prophet of the age. 
He was the guide of the age. He was 
the benefactor of the age. This shows 
the intrinsic force of a godly spirit, in 
that it can repel the sin bj^ which it is 
surrounded, and keep its own conscience 
from defilement. This shows three 
things: — (1.) That man can he good 
notwithstanding the natural depravity 
of his heart. (2.)" Notwithstanding the 
wickedness of his comjyanions. Man 
is not the creature of circumstances. 
He need not commit sin because he is 
surrounded by it. He can repel it in 
the home — in the workshop — what- 



ever may be the disadvantages of his 
condition His surroundings are no 
excuse for evil doing. The soul can 
rise above them into the heavenly path 
of fellowship with God. (3.) That 
man can he good notwithstanding the 
difficulty of the Christian life. It is 
not an easy thing to be a Christian. 
It is not natural for man to be good. 
Goodness is a conflict. Straight is the 
gate and narrow is the way that leads 
into the paths of moral rectitude. 
But this need not impede the spiritual 
progress of the soul in the ways of 
God, even in the most degenerate times. 
The darkness calls for light, and wicked- 
ness needs piety in its midst, if only to 
keej) it from utter ruin, and to pray for 
its reformation. 

II. That it may be pursued in the 
very prime of busy manhood. The 
life of Enoch was a comparatively busy 
one ; he died in the prime of manhood. 
And yet at this period he was cele- 
brated for his moral goodness. Some 
people have an idea that piety is all 
very well for little children, for women 
who are comparatively unoccupied, and 
for the aged ; but they intimate that 
for men in the prime of life, in the 
midst of business, and who are thus in 
severe competition with the world, that 
it is an absurdity and an impossibility. 
These men hope soon to amass a for- 
tune and retire from active life, and 
then they will commence the period 
of devotion. Who can estimate the 
folly and the moral wrong of such an 
idea ? Piety is good for the most 
active business man. It will enrich 
his soul. It will sooth his care. It 
will quiet his anxiety. It will refresh 
his soul. It will give him the guidance 
of a Divine Father. Men can be honest 
in business. Multitudes are. They 
prosper the best. If the age is sinful, 
it likes to do business with a reliable 
man. Let the busineas men of England 
seek to enter upon the heavenly walk 
so gladly enjoyed by Enoch. 

III. That it may be pursued in the 
very midst of domestic anxiety and 
care. " And Enoch walked with God 
after he begat Methuselah three hundred 

101 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



years, and begat sons and daughters." 
He was not the mere creature of pas- 
sion. He was not materiaHstic in his 
ideas. He walked with God amidst 
his family enjoyments, duties, and 
anxieties. Many people have lost 
their religion through the increase of 
domestic cares. But a godly soul can 
walk with God in family life, and take 
all its offspring in the same holy path. 
Enoch would instruct his children in 
the right way. He would pray for 
them. He would commend them to 
his Divine Friend. Happy the home 
where such a godly j)arent is at its 
head. 

IV. That it may be pursued into 
the very portals of heaven and eternal 
bliss. Enoch walked with God, and 
one day walked right into heaven with 
Him. Heaven is but the continuation 
of the holy wallc of earth. Going to 
heaven does not imply a cessation in 
the walk of moral goodness. With the 
good man life on earth naturally breaks 
into the glory of the skies. Some 
people imagine that heaven will con- 
sist in a miraculoiis change wrought 
upon the soul whereby it will enter 
into some grand, inexplicable sphere of 
being. No : Heaven is the soul's 
walk with God on earth, rendered 
closer and more spiritual by the condi- 
tions of the new life above. The soul's 
walk with God is a progress to eternal 
light. Let our prayer be — 

" O for a closer walk with God, 
A calm and heavenly frame ; 
A light to shine upon the road 
That leads me to the Lamb !" 

Enoch : Accounting foe Men's Dis- 
appearance EROM THE Earth. 

" God took him ," 

I. We sliould take an interest in^ the destiny 
of men. 

II. We should recosfnize the hand of God in 
theremoval of men 



III. We should believe in the particularity 
of God's oversight of men. When God takes 
a good man — (1.) He takes that man to a 
higher blessing. (2.) He will fill that man's 
place as a Christian worker upon earth. 
(3.) He trains survivora towards self-reliance 
and emulous work. Or, thvLS : 1. God took 
him — the assertion of a sovereign right. 
2. God took him — an illustration of Divine 
regard. 3. God took him — an assurance of 
eternal blessedness. 4. God took him — a 
pledge that all like him will be associated. 
{City Temple.) 

God of his own will hath chosen 
some eminent witness to bear out His 
name to all ages — Enoch, Elijah. 

Eminent piety becomes those who 
are God's chosen witnesses in a dark 
age. 

Men who walk with God must dis- 
cover Him to others. 

God will take and crown those souls 
that walk with Him. 

The advantages of walldng with 
God : 1. The best security. 2. The 
purest happiness. 3. It will secure 
eternal hfe. 

Verse 25 — 27. The longest life on 
earth : — It will not give perfection. 
2. It will yield to change. 3. It may 
yield to sin. 4. It must die. 

Verse 28 — 31 . Outward names may 
be the same to the righteous and the 
wicked. Chapter iv. 18. Compare 
V. 28. 

God has set times for eminent re- 
freshing to His church. 

The first times before the flood had 
real and typical discoveries of God's 
rest in Christ. 

God makes the names of his seed 
prophetical of the peace of His church. 

Verse 32. A stated and full time of 
warning does God vouchsafe to men of 
His requirements. 

It is a blessing upon the holiest to 
have families. 



102 



EOMILETIG COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



CHAP. V. 



ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER V. 



KEV. WM. ADAJVISOK 



Adam! Ver. 1. The Apocalj'pse of Moses 
is a mythical narrative of the sickness and 
death of Adam and Eve. In it Adam is 
represented on his expulsion as petitioning the 
seraphim to allow him to carry away some of 
the perfume of Paradise. The boon is granted, 
and Adam takes that aroma of Eden which 
afterwards became the saci-ificial incense. It 
also narrates how Adam sent his son Seth to 
go and fetch the oil of consolation, which flows 
from the Tree of Life in Paradise — and how 
this favour was refused him because he was 
appointed unto death. 

" Yes, I must die — I feel that I must die ; 
And though to me has life been dark and 

dreary, 
Yet do I feel my soul recoil ^^-ithin me 
As I contemplate the dim gvilf of death." 

— White. 

Adam's Death! Ver. 5. Tradition has 
invented an account of the last scene. Scarcely 
had he breathed his last than his soul was 
carried away by angels, and his body borne 
into Eden — there to await the resurrection. 
The death of him, who was created for eternal 
life, and was not to die, produces a deep tremor 
of awe throughout the universe. The earth 
refuses to receive his body — the sun and moon 
cover themselves with a veil — and wonders are 
wrought far and wide ; all of which accoimts 
are no doubt as deserving of Christian credence 
as are the startling phantoms of heathen 
prodigy or Roman calendar. Seth is repre- 
sented as stating that Adam was buried by him 
in the " Cave of Treasiu-es " — along -with the 
incense and myrrh from Paradise — to which 
cave came in after times the magi to obtain 
the frankincense and myrrh which were 
brought to the Infant Saviour. 

Godless Grey-hairs! Ver. 9. There is 
not a more repulsive spectacle than an old man 
who will not forsake the world, which has 
already forsaken him. As Spurgeon so wittily 
and weightily says, of all fools, a fool with a 
grey head is the worst fool anywhere. With 
one foot in the grave, and another foot on a 
sandy foundation, of him it may be asked : A 
few more nights, and where art thou ? 

" What folly can be ranker ? Like our shadows 
Our ^vishes lengthen as our sun declines : 
No wish should loiter then this side the 
grave." — Young. 

Despots! Ver. 9. In pictured stone we 
see traces which speak of perfectly-organized, 
strong and beautiful life, and a record there 
also of imperfection and deformity ; as in the 



records of the Bible are traces not only of those 
who excel in virtue, but of those who made a 
strong impression on their age through the 
magnitude of their vileness. Among such are 
those mentioned in this chapter. But 

" Think'st thou there is no tyranny but that 
Of blood and chains? The despotism of 

vice, 
The wealaiess and the wickedness of luxury." 

— Byron. 

Adam to Noah ! Ver. 9. The golden age 
was the first period of history in which truth — 
right — innocence and happiness universally 
prevailed. There wei'e no instruments of war, 
and the earth brought forth her fruits spon- 
taneously. Spring was perpetual — flowers 
gi-ew \\]} spontaneously — the rivers flowed -with 
milk and wine, and honey di-opped from the 
boughs of the oak. Then came the silver age 
— ^then the savage brazen age — then the mur- 
derous kon age, followed by the flood of 
Deucalion — while 

"Faith fled, and piety. in exile mourned : 
And Justice, here opprest, to heaven 
returned." — Dryden. 

Ancestry! Ver. 10. King James I., in 
his progress in England, was entertained at 
Lumley Castle, the seat of the Earl of Scar- 
borough. A relative of the noble earl was 
very proud in showing and explaining to his 
Majesty an immensely large genealogical line 
of the family. The pedigree he carried back 
rather farther than the greatest strength of 
credulity would allow, whereupon the witty 
Monarch quietly remarked that "he did not 
know befoi-e that Adam's name was Lumley." 

" Of all the wonders which the eventful life 
Of man presents — 

Not one so strange appears as this alone, 
That man is proud of what is not his own." 

— More. 

Memorials! Ver. 14. When we explore 
the caverns of Egypt we come upon the 
sculptm-ed forms of ape and ibis. These serve 
to illustrate the shapes and idolatries of human 
conceits. They speak to us in language more 
powei-ful than the most minute details of 
history. And so, when we examine the vaiilts 
of pre-Noachic man, we come upon the names 
of successive generations which suffice to exem- 
plify to us life-history of that era. They 
testify with more power and fulness than if 
there were a thousand roUs inscribed with 
their deeds and thoughts. 

103 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



" Those strong records, 
Those deathless monuments alone shall show 
What, and how great, the Koman Empire was." 

— May. 

Rivers! Ver. 17. Life bears us on like 
the stream of a mighty river. Ovlt boat glides 
down the narrow channel, through the playful 
murmuring of the little brook, and the winding 
of its grassy borders. The trees shake their 
blossoms over om- young heads, and the flowers 
on the brink seem to offer themselves to o\vc 
young hands ; we are hapj^y in the hope, and 
grasp eagerly at the beauties around us — but 
the stream hiirries on, and still our hands are 
empty. Oiu- course in youth and manhood is 
along a wider flood, amid objects more striking 
and magnificent. We are animated at the 
moving pictures of enjoyment and industry 
passing us — we are excited at some short-lived 
disappointment. 

" It may be that the breath of love. 

Some leaves on its swift tide driven. 
Which, passing from the shores above. 
Have floated down from heaven." — Bell. 

The stream bears us on, and our joys and 
grief are alike left behind us. We may be 
shipwrecked; we cannot be delayed. Whether 
rough or smooth, the river hastens to its home, 
till the tossLQg of the waves is beneath our 
feet, and the land lessens from our eyes, and 
floods are lifted around us, and we take our 
leave of earth and its inhabitants until of our 
further voyage there is no witness but the 
Infinite and Eternal. — (Heber.) 

Antiquity! Ver. 20. Wandering during a 
bright autumnal afternoon over one of the 
loftiest chalk cliffdowns in our island, and 
often looldng out over the great far-stretching 
ocean that rolled up in monotonous mm-murs 
to the foot of the j)recipitous white rock walls, 
on the top of which he then stood, Mr. Leifchild 
was deeply impressed with a feeling of the 
limitations of all human knowledge. DoAvn 
below, some 800 feet under him, and for 
many miles before him was the vast unsounded 
sea. High up above that was the lofty, in- 
accessible sky. Immediately beneath his feet 
were solid layers upon layers of accumulated 
and piled-up chalk. He beheld the sea and 
sky under a full simshine, but he knew nothing 
absolutely of what was in them — of what was 
below them — of what was above them. Even 
of the visible and sea-derived rock imdemeath, 
he knew little more than that it was the white 
sepulchre of countless centm-ies — the mighty 
monument of historic ages — the dead deposit 
of once boundlessly swarming life. So may we 
stand in regard to the generations of men re- 
corded in Gen. 5. We see around and above 
them ; but we cannot see what is in them. 
Full iDlazing light is over all, but light is not 
in aU. 

" When fain to learn we lean into the dark, 
And grope to feel the floor of the abyss." 
— Ingdoiu. 
104 



Faith.- vision I Ver. 24. Birds have an extra- 
ordinary power of changing the focus of the 
lens of their eye, at will and instantly. By 
this means they are enabled to perceive distant 
objects invisible to human gaze, as if just under 
their beaks. The optician cannot give you an 
eye-glass to distingmsh with equal clearness 
near objects and remote. Yet birds possess 
this power. And so the Christian possesses 
this twofold spiritual vision. The prophet 
Enoch — without increasing or diminishing — 
was able to cause the faith of his soul to 
change instantly the globular form of the 
crystalline lens, and thus augment the power 
of refraction. Looking at will and instantly, 
he could see the sins near at hand, and yet 
behold the grand solemnities of the last assize 
far off. 

" Erom Adam to his youngest heir, 

Not one shall 'scape that muster-roll j 
Each, as if he alone were there, 

Shall stand, and win or lose his soul." 
— Montgomery. 

mmortality! Ver. 24. All heathen na- 
tions have believed in the immortality of the 
soul. The Greeks and Romans had their Hades 
— their Elysian fields — their infernal regions ; 
but these, as MacmiLlan remarks, were only 
ghost worlds, inhabited by the shades of the 
dei^arted. They felt that the dust could not 
be the end of him who has been privileged to 
walk with God among the trees of the garden, 
and to hold communion with the Divine in the 
thoughts that breathe and words that burn in 
all the magnificence of Nature's creation. 

" Thus man 
Was made upright, immortal made, and crowned 
The king of all."— Po«o^•, 

Wickedness! Ver. 22. There was never 
a ray of starlight in the Mammoth Cave of 
Kentucky — only the red glare of torches ever 
lights its walls. So there were many men in 
the era from Adam to Noah whose minds were 
all underground, and unlighted save by the 
torches of selfishness and passion. 

" Meanwhile the earth increased in wickedness, 
And hasted daily to fill up her cup." 

—PolloTc. 

Family! Ver. 22. The religious father 
may be regarded in his family as the keystone 
to the arch of a building which binds and holds 
all the parts of the edifice together. If this 
keystone be removed, the fabric will tumble to 
the grotmd, and all its parts be separated from 
each other. Or, he is to his famOy as the good 
shepherd, under whose protection and care the 
flock may go in and out, and find pasture ; but 
when the shepherd is smitten, the sheep will 
be scattered. Yet 

" His hand who rent shall bind again, 

With firmer links, thy broken chain, 

To be complete for ever." 

• — Fitzartliur. 



- EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. chap. v. 

Holy Walk I Ver. 24. The Emperor of whereupon the veteran monarch, drawing him- 

Germany was one day visiting one of the public self up to his full stature, enquired : "To what 

schools of Prussia ; and, being desirous of per- kingdom do I belong ? " To his pleased sur- 

sonally testing the intelligence of the children, prise, a voice immediately shouted : " To the 

he held up a stone, and enquired to what kingdom of heaven." True indeed of the 

"kingdom" it belonged. Having received the aged champion of the Kingdom of Christ on 

reply that it was a member of the mineral earth ; would that it could be said of every 

kingdom, he held up a little flower, and re- child of man : "To the kingdom of heaven ! " 

peated the question to what kingdom it rightly This is secured by " walking with God ; " and 
belonged. The prompt response was given u Though small the seedHng, from it gi-ows 

that It was classed m the vegetable kingdom ; Heaven's boundless bUss."— /miZso/!. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Critical Notes. — 2. Sons of God.] — That these were angels is a view which, it is well- 
known, has been held from ancient times, both by Jews and Christians. Of the latter class 
may be named Justin and TertuUian among the ancients, and Luther, Stier, Baumgarten, Kurtz 
and Delitzsch among the moderns. Notmthstanding the weight of these names, we must, va. 
preference, stand with those who decidedly oppose this interpretation ; and this, for the 
following, among other reasons. (1.) We need not leave the human family to find these 
" sons of God," having already a basis for this noble title in the spiritual nearness of the 
Sethites to God (cf. Deut. xiv. 1 ; xxxii. 5 ; Ps. Ixxiii. 15 ; Pro. xiv. 26 ; Luke iii. 38.) (2.) We 
interrupt the "genesis" of the book, if we go farther than man : it is, physically, a pure human 
development so far. (3.) We set aside the naixiral generators of the .race, the fathers — to make 
way for angels and women ! (4.) We destroy the representative nature of this apostacy, putting- 
it out of relation to those named in Nvun. xxv., Jud. iii., 1 Kings xi., xvi., Kev. ii. (5.) The 
story no longer serves for "our admonition " 1 Cor. x. 6.) It gratuitously imports what, with 
our present light, we must call a monstrosity (Matt. xxii. 30). That, in certain places (Job i. 
xxxviii.) angels are termed " sons of God," simply shows how extended the divine family ia 
(cf. Eph. iii. 15, ua-aa, Tracrptx, " every family," or better perhaps, " an entire family "). 
3. Strive with.] Or, " judge in ;" or " plead with :" " rule over" (Flirst, Davies) ; " be humbled 
in" (Gesenius); "remain, dwell in" (Sept., Vulg., Arabic, etc.) — They also are flesh.] Some 
render : " In their erring : they are flesh." — 14. Gopher wood.] Probably, "cypress" (Conant, 
Davies); "pitch-trees, resinous trees" (Gesenius); "a hard, strong tree, precise kind unknown" 
(Eiirst). — 18. Establish,] Or, " set up again," " restore," as in Amos ix. 11 ; cf. 1 Pet. iv. 19. 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 1—8. 

A Degenerate World. 

Sin does not take long to spread. A few ages ago and it only existed in one 
or two hearts ; but now it is almost universal in its prevalence. _ A little while 
ago the world was new and pure, dwelling in joy ; now it is old in sin, contanii- 
nated by wickedness, and frowning with woe. There is a terrible contagion in 
moral evil. It soon spreads from the individual to the community, from the 
centre to the circumference of social life. 1. The organic unity of^ society is 
favourable to the spi'ead of moral evil. The domestic life of man affords great 
opportunity for the progress of either good or evil. If an evil disposition, or a 
wicked habit gains possession of one member of the family, it is very likely to 
influence the rest. This intimate community of daily life renders the inmates 
of the household potent in influences which shall form the character and destiny 
of each other. The family bond is intimate, and sensitive, and one touch of 
good or evil passes forcefully through it into the human soul. And in common 
society itself there are many and varied connections which are fraught with 
potent influences to the mind and heart of man. The master influences his 
servant ; the manager influences those under his control ; and the casual_ inter- 
course of daily life is influential in determining the moral character of multitudes. 
Hence a message flashed on the wires of our domestic and social being, reaches 

105 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



to known and unknown destinies. The words we speak to-day, may to-morrow 
determine the mental and spiritual condition of many people. Hence the 
conditions of our social existence are favourable to the dire contagion of evil. 
2. The native willingness of the human soul to do evil is favourable to the con- 
tagion of moral wrong. Seldom do men need to be reasoned into the evil 
pursuits of conduct, and if they do, a fallacious argument is sufficient to 
convince them. They do not even require to be solicited or invited to the 
wrong, they are willing, nay, eager, to find companions who will join them in 
their carnal pleasures. The unregenerate soul goes in quest of evil, and will 
work it greedily. It has a native tendency to sin. Hence we are not surprised 
to find the world rioting in moral wrong, when it is utterly destitute of that 
love to God, which, alone can keep it right. We have here the sad picture of 
a degenerate world : — 

I. It is a world in which marriage is abused. " And it came to pass, 
when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born 
unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair ; 
and they took them wives of all which they chose." Thus we find that the 
longevity of men in those ages was productive of evil. Then one sinful life 
would extend much longer than at present, and consequently gave a greater 
encouragement and a more misleading example to wrong doers. 'Hie fear of death 
was largely removed, and men pursued their wicked pleasures without dread of the 
grave. 1. We find that marriage ivas commenced 07i a ivrong principle. There 
has been a very long discussion as to the meaning of the phrases here used "the 
sons of God " and " the daughters of men." The former have been regarded as 
the sons of princes, of angels, and of Sethites or godly men ; and the latter as 
people of the lower orders of mankind generally, and of the Cainites, or of the 
rest of mankind as contrasted with the godly. It is clear that angels cannot be 
intended by " the sous of God " in this context, as they do not marry, nor are 
they given in marriage. It is evident that men were punished for the crime, as 
the earth and not heaven was deluged by water ; we may therefore conclude, 
that man was the guilty party. Besides, the angels fell long before these ages, 
probably prior to the creation of the terrestrial globe. Also men, and not 
angels, were subject to the strivings of the Holy Spirit, hence we conclude that 
they were alone in their guilt. It is altogether ^vrong for the so7is of God to 
many the daughters of men. True, in the first instance, the useful arts, and 
the embellishments of social life, began to flourish in the house of Cain. Agri- 
culture, commerce, music, and poetry, were cultivated among his descendants. 
Were the children of Seth to forego the benefit of participating in these 
advantages thus introduced into the social system ? Certainly not. As the 
children of God they were at liberty to prosecute any laudable undertakings in this 
direction, but could they not have done this without unholy alliances ? It is better 
to give up the refinements of the world than to abandon good moral character 
in the effort to attain them. There can be no valid excuse for an alliance in 
marriage between the church and the world. The church should never ally 
itself in matrimony with the world. What sympathy can the morally pure and 
good have with the morally unholy. Summer cannot ally itself to winter. 
Genius cannot ally itself to ignorance. Life cannot ally itself to death. Neither 
ought the morally light in the Lord to ally themselves with the morally 
dark in Satan. Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers, is an injunction the 
church needs to remember. We find also that physical beauty ivas made the 
basis of the matrimonial selection. " The sons of God saw the daughters of men 
that they were fair." Thus passion was the basis of the matrimonial life of the 
age. A man cannot be actuated by a meaner motive than this in seeking a 
wife. He needs mental intercourse and moral elevation and sympathy from her 
106 



EOMILETW COMMENTARY: GENESIS. chap. vi. 



who is to be the companion of his life, and these are not always associated with 
physical beauty, nor will physical beauty compensate for their absence. The 
beauty of the face will soon fade. The moral beauty of the soul is untarnished 
by time, is rendered more lovely by the flight of years. It will be sought by 
the true man, who will care more for womanly excellence than for artistic beauty. 
Much of the moral pollution of the age in which ive live is due to unhallowed and 
injudicious marriages. Many people are united in wedlock before they reach 
manhood and womanhood, and often have to struggle through life with a poverty 
sadly conducive to crime. They sink beneath the social wave, and perhaps 
never rise to true enjoyment. If the young people of the land would make 
more thoughtful and hallowed marriages, seeking partners of pious conviction, 
of genial spirit, of cultivated thought, and of thrifty habit, the pauperism, the 
business of our criminal law courts, and the debasing influences of society would 
be almost entirely swept away. The conjugal alliances of men largely determine 
the moral character of a community. 2. We find that the marriage bond teas 
violated by impuritij. Here is the evil of promiscuous intermarriage without 
regard to spiritual character. The first inlet of sin prepares the way for the 
flood-gates of iniquity. It would seem that the men of those days had as many 
wives as their passion desired ; they took them wives of all which they chose. 
When a nation loses the purity of its domestic life, its national glory will soon 
-depart. The divorce court is a true but sad index to the worth of our national 
character. .Under these conditions of home life it is easy to imagine the speedy 
prevalence of sin recorded in these verses. Parents and not legislators are the 
true guardians of the world's moral purity. 

II. It is a world in which violence prevails. — " There were giants in the 
earth in those days ; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto 
the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty 
men which were of old, men of renown." 1. Men of physical strength hecame 
the rulers of the people. These giants were men of great physical energy, they 
were i^robably Cainites, and were much more violent than the Sons of God, and 
their descendants. Hence the warrior was the ruler of the age. Mere brute 
force, rather than legal right, or moral fitness, was the qualification for rulership. 
We have but little insight given in the inspired record, into the principles and 
method of government which prevailed in these early ages of the world, but it 
is probable that God himself was recognized as the true Governor of men ; to 
Him offerings were brought, and to Him obedience ought to have been rendered. 
Hence we find that the strong men of the times in their self-imposed authority, 
were in direct rebellion to Jehovah. Surely we cannot imagine a more 
degenerate and lamentable condition of things than this, when all the foremost 
men of the day were in antagonism to the Supreme Ruler of the universe. 
But the people who seek to dethrone the Divine authority will speedily work 
their own ruin ; nor was this an exception to the rule, and the destructive deluge 
shows how utterly impotent physical strength is in any contention with God. 

2. Men of physical strength were the popular favourites of the day. They 
were men of fame. Fame was not during these ages achieved by rectorial equity 
and moral purity of character, but by deeds of daring and of blood. These 
giants were proud and haughty. They were impious. The offspring of these 
unholy marriages were the rulers of the advancing age, and their wicked training 
would well prepare them to perpetuate the violence and villainy of their fathers 

3. Men of physical strength ivere the terror of the day. _ They had no regard to 
the rights of the poor ; the weak were despised and injured ; the good, if any 
were to be found, were persecuted ; legal rectitude was unheeded by them. 
Force was the supreme law of the age. It was indeed a reign of terror. 
Multitudes would wish it at an end. Force is the very essence of sin. Sm 

107 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



always brings nations into anarchy. A violent government is a sure guarantee 
for the spread of moral defilement. 

III. It is a world in which spiritual influences are rejected. " And the 

Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive witli man, for that he also is flesh : 
yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." 1. This degenerate world 
had not been entirely left to its own inclination. The world had not been 
entirely given up to the impurity of its domestic life, to the brutality of its 
violent measures, without the deep convictions of heaven being given, which were 
calculated to restrain its sin. It is not the economy of heaven to leave wicked- 
ness to itself until it plunges itself into its own hell. God mercifully endeavours 
to cleanse the impurity, and to subdue the violence of evil by the conviction 
and restraining influences of His Holy Spirit. Hence the augmented guilt and 
doom of the persistent wrong-doer. What would be the moral condition of the 
world without this corrective ministry, no human mind could conceive. God 
was indeed merciful to the apostate race in thus sending His Spirit to irradiate 
the darkened mind, to expostulate with the conscience of the violent, to prompt 
and strengthen holy resolve, and to bring back the heart of the world to Himself. 
But, alas ! this glad result was not attained. The flesh prevailed. Life is a 
constant struggle between these two forces, the flesh of man and the Spirit of 
God, and but too often the issi:e is that of the degenerate times of which we 
write. 2. The degenerate ivorld rejected the holy influences of heaven. The 
domestic impurity of the age did not yield to His holy touch. The giants of 
the age resisted the proper control he would put upon their violent energies. 
The age rejected the Spirit of God. Its individuals sought Him not. This is 
an awful possibility. Man is a free agent. He caimot be forced into compliance 
with rectitude. He mustjDe a consenting party. The age that rejects the Spirit 
of God is truly in a degenerate and hopeless condition. It has no light to 
relieve its darkness. How many historic ages since these primitive times have 
been characterized by an utter absence of spiritual impulse and energy. They 
have been Godless. They have witnessed a strange growth of moral evil in the 
nations. 3. The degenerate world was in danger of losing the holy and correcting 
influences of heaven. " And the Lord said. My Spirit shall not always strive 
with man." Heaven can afford to let the impure and violent men alone, 
because such will speedily achieve their o^vn ruin. The violence of earth cannot 
injure the inhabitants of the heavens. It is only restrained for the good of man. 
If it is finally unrestrained, the Holy Spirit wall leave the rebellious age to itself, 
until its impurity and violence shall be washed out and subdued by a great 
flood of waters. Irreparable punishment certainly follows the withdrawal of 
holy influences from the soul of man. It is a token of human obstinacy, and of 
the Divine displeasure. Our constant prayer should be, " Take not Thy Holy 
Spirit from me." 

IV. It is a world under the immediate inspection of God. " And God saw 

that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination 
of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." 1. Thus God saw the 
wickedness of this ancient ivorld. All the impurity and evil of this ancient 
world was passing day by day under the eye of God. And not merely did He 
behold its outward phases, but also its inward ; He not merely saw the violence 
with which the earth was filled, but also the moral evil with which the heart 
was polluted. He saw the imagination of the thought of the heart. He sees 
the fountain of sin. What a sight it must have been for the infinite purity to 
behold ! God seeth the heart of man. If purity does not reign in the thought 
and soul of man, however excellent he may be otherwise, he is destitute of the 
first principle of good. Men only read the world's newspaper. God reads the 
108 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. chap vr. 



world's heart. A solemn thought. Should calm the passion of the world. 

2. Thus God repented that He had made man. The scripture is frank and 
unreserved, some men would say, imprudent or regardless of misconstruction 
in its statements of truth. Repentance ascribed to the Lord, seems to imply 
wavering or change of purpose in the eternal self-existent. But the sublime 
dictate of the inspired word is " God is not a man," &c. (Num. xxiii. 19). 
In sooth, every act here recorded, the observation, the resolve, the exception, 
seems equally with the repentance to jar with the unchangeableness of God. 
To go to the root of the matter, every act of the divine \vill, of creative power, 
or of interference with the order of nature, seems at variance with inflexibility 
of purpose. But, in the first place, man has a finite mind and a limited sphere 
of observation, and therefore is not able to conceive or express thoughts or acts 
exactly as they are in God, but only as they are in himself. Secondly, God is 
a spirit, and therefore has the attributes of personality, freedom, and holiness ; 
and the passage before us is designed to set forth these in all the reality of their 
action, and therefore to distinguish the freedom of the eternal mind from the 
fatalism of inert matter. Hence, thirdly, these statements represent real 
processes of the Divine Spirit, analogous at least to those of the human. And, 
lastly, to verify this representation, it is not necessary that we should be able 
to comprehend or construe to ourselves in all its practical detail that sublime 
harmony which subsists between the liberty and the immutability of God. That 
change of state, which is essential to will, liberty, and activity, may be, for 
aught we know, and from what we know must be, in profound unison with the 
eternity of the Divine purpose. (Dr. Murphy.) This expression clearly shews 
the abhorrence with which God regarded the sins of the primitive but de- 
generate world, and was the prelude of impending doom. 3. Thus God was 
grieved that he had made man. 

V. It is a world threatened with destruction by God. The resolve is now 
formed to sweep away man from the face of the earth. Hitherto men had died ; 
now they are to be drowned. This will be a standing monument of the wrath 
of God against sin to all future ages. 1. This threat ivas retributive. 2. This 
threat ivas comprehensive. It included " man and beast and the creeping thino-, 
and the fowls of the air." Man is the head of creation, and hence all below him 
is included in his doom. If the head is stricken from the human body all the 
members become dead. So in creation. These inferior creatures of the universe 
are not moral, and therefore the violent termination of their life is not penal. 

3. This threat ivas mingled tvith mercy. Many years were to elapse before its 
occuri-ence, hence every opportunity would be given to prepare for it. We do 
not read that the degenerate world sought its removal ; it would rather seem 
that they did not believe it would be executed. Such is the unbelief, folly, and 
hardihood of the sinner. Lessons : — 1. To sanctify a long life by true piety lest 
it become a means of impurity. 2. To avoid unhallowed alliances. 3, To 
coincide with the convictions of the Spirit of God. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verses 1 — 2. The worst of women Sons of God different to the daughters 

may be characterized by outward of men : — 1. In disposition. 2. In 

beauty. ^ profession. 3. In moral character. 

Large increase of population is 4. In eternal destiny, 

often associated with moral corrup- Eminent Sons of God by profession 

tio^- may be influenced by the lust of the 

Corrupt women are great snares to eye, then they become : — 1. Corrupt, 

the church. 2. Debased. 3. Violent. 4. Rebellious. 

109 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



The lust of the eye disposeth to all 
sensuality and adultery. 

A numerous offspring is no sure 
sign of God's special favour. 

Beauty is a dangerous bait, and lust 
is sharp sighted. It is not safe gazing 
on a fair woman. How many have 
died of the wound in the eye ! No 
one means hath so enriched hell as 
beautiful faces. Take heed our eyes 
be not windows of wickedness and 
loopholes of lust [ Trajojo]. 

Let the church be aware of being 
entangled with the world. The so- 
ciety of the men of the world may 
have many advantages to hold out. 
Their daughters may be fair, they may 
have the power and policy of earth at 
their disposal, and they may excel in 
the arts of life, and in its busy com- 
merce ; and on all these grounds may 
be built many a specious reason for 
cultivating intercourse with them. 
There are these three modes of alli- 
ance with the ungodly, in family in- 
tercourse, in self defence and oijposition 
to a common foe, and in the transac- 
tion of the common business of life, to 
which, in that early time, the family 
of Seth might be tempted ; and they 
are the very snares into which God's 
people are ever apt to fall. In these 
three ways they are continually led to 
make concessions tending to worldly con- 
formity, and to compromise their high 
standing and their holy testimon)^, on 
the side of the Lord and of His truth 
\^Dr. CandUsh.^ 

The mingling of that which is of 
God with that which is of man, is a 
special form of evil, and a very effectual 
engine, in Satan's hand, for marring 
the testimony of Christ on earth. 
Tliis mingling may frequently wear 
the appearance of something very de- 
sirable ; it may often look like a wider 
promulgation of that which is of God. 
Such is not the divine method of pro- 
mulgating with, or of advancing the 
interests of those, who ouglit to occupy 
the place of witnesses for Him on the 
earth. Separation from all evil is 
God's principle ; and this principle 
can never be infringed without serious 
damage to the truth [C.H.M,^ 
110 



Verse 3. I. That the Spirit of God does 
exert an influence on man for the purpose 
of securing: his best interest. Notice — 1. 
That this spiritual influence is universal. No 
doubt respecting its possibility. He who made 
man can influence him. 2. That this spiritual 
influence is essential to the production of good. 
Human nature is depraved, and therefore in- 
capable of itself of producing anything good. 
As every drop of rain which falls from the 
clouds, and every sj^ring that issues from the 
rocky mountains, comes from the mighty oceans ; 
as the light which makes every planet and 
satellite gleam in the dark void of space comes 
from the sun ; so does all good in man proceed 
from the Spirit of God. 3. That this spiritual 
iniiucnce is, in every case, limited by the condi- 
tions of man''s free agency. Nothing compulsory 
in its nature. If religion be virtue, man in 
becoming religious must act from choice and 
not from necessity. 4. That this spiritual in- 
fluence is effective in proportion to the adaptation 
of the means by tvhieh it acts upon men's minds. 
Nature. Providence. Chiefly the gospel. 

II. That the Spirit of God may cease to 
influence m.en for good. This proved by 
facts. Saul (1 Sam. xxviii. 15) ; Belshazzar 
(Dan. V.) ; Jews in time of Jeremiah (Jer. 
XV. 1). 

III. That the Spirit of God ceases to 
influence man for good because of man's 
continued rebellion. " For that he also is 
flesh." The word " flesh " is often iised in 
Scripture to denote the sinfulness of man. 
This ceasing to strive may not be the result of 
a positive act of withdrawal of heavenly in- 
fluences, so much as that of the law of nature 
which determines that the momentum of any 
moving body is diminished by constant resist- 
ance. In the moral universe, as well as in the 
physical, this law operates. 

IV. That the benevolence of God is mani- 
fested in the manner in which spiritual 
influences are withdra^wxi from man. "Yet 
his days shall be an hundi'ed and twenty years." 
1. The xcithelrawal never happens till after a 

'long period of existence. 2. It never happens 
suddenly, but gradually. 3. It never happens 
ivithout sufficient warning. — {Evan Lewis in 
Homilist.) 

I. A wonderful fact implied. The Holy 
Spirit shines with man. 1. Remarlcable Power. 
Man can refuse to obey the Creator. 2. A mazing 
ilivine condescension. 3. Astonishing human 
obduracy. 4. A merciful reason. Why not 
abandon man. Love of God. 5. The benevolent 
purpose. That man may forsake sin. 6. The 
mysterious method. 

II. An alarming fact stated. 1. A cala- 
mity of awful magnitude. 2. Moct melancholy. 
— {Homilist). 

God may hold His peace at the lust- 
ful uncleanness of sinners for a long 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



time, but He will fiually speak with 
terror. 

It is God's word of threatening which 
is through revelation, which is declared 
by His preachers. 

God's Spirit strives for, with, and in 
men by the ministry for their salvation. 

God may prohibit his Spirit any 
more to labour with rebellious souls. 

Divine forbearance : — 1. Long mani- 
fested. 2. Fearfully abused. 3. Finally 
withdrawn. 4. Must end in salvation 
or ruin. 

Verse 4. Giants in natural might 
and power may be also giants in sin. 

God's earth is made the habitation 
of all impiety and wickedness by mighty 
sinners. 

The greatest might of sinners is but 
earthly. 

Giants in sin are most violent with 
God when He strives to save them. 

Unholy alliances between the Church 
and the world bring forth these giants. 

Sin taketh a mighty power to itself: 
— 1. Renown. 2. Antiquity. 3. Val- 
our. 4. Dominion. 

It is but a contemptible name and 
power with God wliich the mightiest of 
sinners have. 

The names of sinners are recorded in 
God's word that they may be abhorred. 

Extent of Man's Wickedness. 

Verse 5. The extent of man's wickedness 
is far greater than the generality of naankind 
have any conception of. Not merely words 
blameworthy, but also his heart. God looks 
chiefly at the heart. The heart of every man 
naturally wicked. In this verse God assigns 
His reason for destroying the whole world by 
a universal deluge. 

I. The testimony of God respecting man. 
He speaks more immediately respecting the 
antediluvian world. In general, the wickedness 
of man was great in the earth. Every species 
of wickedness was committed in the most 
shameless manner. But inore particularly, "the 
hearts " of men were evil ; " the thoughts " of 
their hearts were evil ; " the imaginations " of 
the thoughts were evil, and this too without 
exception, without mixture, without intermis- 
sion ; for every imagination was evil, and "only" 
evil, and that continually. Wliat an awful 
statement. But how could this be ascei-tained ? 
Only by God (Prov. xvi. 2). This is His testi- 



mony, after a thorough inspection of every 
human being. The same must be spoken of 
man at this day. Proved by observation. What 
has been the state of your hearts? Pride, 
angei", impure thoughts have sprung up in 
them. If occasionally a transient thought of 
good has arisen how coldly has it been enter- 
tained, how feebly has it operated, how soon 
has it been lost. Compared wth what the 
law requires, and what God and His Christ 
deserve at your hands, do we not fall short of 
our duty ? 

II. What effect it should produce upon 
you. 1. Humiliation. On review of our words 
and actions we have all reason to be ashamed. 
Who amongst us could bear to have all his 
thoughts disclosed ? Yet God beholds all ; and 
has a perfect recollection of all that has passed 
through oiir minds from infancy. We ought 
to be humble. Our religioiis thoughts, when 
compared with what they ought to have been 
in number and intensity, are no less a groimd 
of humiliation than those which have sprung 
from a more impiu-e source ; since they prove 
how defective are our conceptions of God'a 
excellency, and how faint our sense of the 
Redeemer's love. 2. Gratitude. God sent His 
Son that through Him all our iniquities might 
be forgiven. Is not gratitude due to Him in 
return ? 3. Fear. Though your hearts are 
renewed by divine grace, it is only in j^art ; 
you have still the flesh within you, as well as 
the spirit. I need not tell you what precautions 
people take, when they carry a light in the 
midst of combustibles, wliich, if ignited, will 
spread destruction all around. Know, that ye 
carry such combustibles about you, and you 
know not how soon you may come in contact 
with somewhat that may cause an explosion. 
David, " Be ye, then, not high-minded ; but 
fear. ' ' — ( Simeon. ) 

God sees otherwise than man, such 
as are men of name here are men of 
shame with God. 

Increase of sin after warning from 
God is full of provocation. 

Moral evil : — 1. Universal. 2. Bitter. 
3. Multiplied. 4. Aggravated. 5. Out- 
spreading. 6. Condemned. 

God's eye beholds man's inward as 
well as outward wickedness. None is 
hid. 

God's knowledge of man's inward 
life :— 1. Thorough. 2. Certain. 3. 
Solemn. 4. Cannot be averted. 5. Can- 
not be mistaken. 

Verse 6. God's fury on account of 
man's sin : — 1. Because man as a sin- 
ner does not embody the ideal of moral 
life which God originally intended to 
manifest in him. 2. Because man' as 

111 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



a sinner does not accomplish, the pur- 
pose for which he was created. 3. Be- 
cause man as a sinner is continually 
debasing his faculties and powers. 
4. Because man as a sinner is missing 
the sublime destiny intended for him. 

Sin will always awaken fury within 
the hearts of men who are in moral 
sympathy with God. 

The fact that the sinner is God's 
workmansliip will not exempt him from 
destruction. 

God will not suffer the earth to give 
comfort to sinners. 

Verse 7. Bitter and utter destruc- 
tion is determined upon an ungodly 
world. 

The whole creation subject to ven- 
geance for the sin of man. 

God's creating goodness is a deep 
aggravation of the sin of such as rise 
against Him. 

Sin is a destructive influence : — 
1. Destructive of human life. 2. De- 
structive of the life of the brute. 
3. Destructive of the beauty of the 
earth. 4. Destructive of the imme- 
diate purposes of God. 

Lonely Moral Goodness. 
Verse 8. We have just had pictured 
the sad condition of the primitive 
world ; and now in beautiful but lonely 
contrast we are favoured with the men- 
tion of a man whose life was pure and 
Godly. 

I. The Christian man is sometimes 
solitary in his companionships. It was 

so with Noah. Though the world was 
crowded with aged and renowned men, 
he was alone in it ; there were none 
around whose characters would fit them 
to be his daily companions. He could 
not find companionship in the violent 
men of the age in which he lived. 
The star of his piety shed a solitary 
light in the great moral firmament of 
the thnes. There were no satellites to 
join him in his light-giving mission. 
The darkness was all around him. His 
was not fancied loneliness. At one 
time Elijah thought himself the only 
worshipper of the true God, he was 
112 



ignorant of the thousands who had 
not bowed the knee unto Baal. God 
asserts the moral loneliness of Noah, 
and he could not be deceived in this 
matter. His eye would only too 
gladly have beheld another pure life 
amidst that mass of corruption. His 
loneliness tvas not the result of an 
exclusive spirit. He did not of set 
intention stand aloof from the social 
life of the world ; he did not look down 
upon ordinary life with sublime con- 
tempt as a thing for men of lower 
spirit to engage in. He was not above 
the world. He was in the crowded 
world. He was lonely. 

II. The Christian man is some- 
times solitary in his character. The 
world was universally wicked. Noah 
was the only man who found gi-ace in 
the eyes of the Lord. He was lonely 
in his moral goodness. He was ani- 
mated by different motives, inspired by 
nobler ambitions, and engaged in 
grander pursuits than those by whom 
he was daily surrounded. He was 
calm and pure amidst the passion of 
the age. He was the real king of the 
age. His sceptre was his holy life. 
Heaven acknowledged him to be such. 
These royal spirits are generally 
lonely in this world. They will not be 
so in the next. There they will have 
congenial companionships. The sub- 
lime experiences of moral goodness 
must make a man more or less lonely 
in his inner life. 

III. The Christian man is some- 
times solitary in his work. Noah 
was lonely in his work. He had to 
build an ark. He was a lonely Chris- 
tian. He was in the future to be a 
lonely hero. God gives to Christian 
men a work to perform, the doing of 
which may render them lonely, but 
loneliness is not always solitude, as God 
is always with the spirit of the lonely 
good. Sometimes a member of the 
family circle has a lonely task to ac- 
complish in his home ; the teacher in 
the class; and the minister m the 
sanctuary. Let us be brave in its exe- 
cution. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



The states and nature of gracious whom he delivereth from the world's 

ones stand in opposition to the ungodly destruction. 
world. Faith must he the finder of grace 

It is the grace of God that makes with God, and no work nor price of 

good men what they are. man. 

God's gracious eye singles out souls, 

MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAORAPH.— Verses 9—13. 

Noah, or a Good Man Living in Degenerate Times. 

I. That good men living in degenerate times are not overlooked by God. 

The degenerate and wicked condition of primitive society was under the eye 
of God. He saw the moral apostacy of the age, that it was almost universal, 
Noah was the only glad exception. He was the only just and morally perfect 
man to be found. God did not overlook him in the multitude. God saw Noah 
and his efforts to be good. Good men are not lost in the mass to the eye of 
heaven. The surrounding darkness renders the solitary light the more apparent. 
So the prevalency of evil makes the purity of moral goodness more remarkable. 
The gardener may overlook the one gay flower in the midst of the weeds, and 
may pluck all up together ; but not so with our heavenly husbandman, he 
infallibly separates the good from the bad, so that the former is never destroyed 
through the uprooting of the latter. A good man in the world is conspicuous 
to the vision of God. In the most wicked ages of the world's history there has 
generally been one good man left as a representative of the church, and as a 
rebuke to the follies of the times, and he has generally been divinely shielded 
from the perils of his situation, and has been rewarded for his heroic testimony 
to the right. God remembers Lot in the wicked Sodom. A merciful providence 
is ever over the good, 

II. That good men living in degenerate times are often characterized by; 
signal piety. Noah was not merely a good man, just maintaining a reputation 
for external morality in these barbarous times, but he was a perfect man. The 
light of his piety was not dim, but bright and constant. It did not flicker 
before the rude winds of sin around it. The grace of God kept it bright and 
constant in its flame. This grace was sought by Noah. Without it he could 
not have retained his moral rectitude in such perilous circumstances. And if 
we search the annals of history we shall find that the darkest ages have been 
illumined by the lives of the brightest and best saints, as if the wickedness 
around them was a new stimulus to devotion, and also to a decided testimony 
for moral purity. How often has a noted place of business, where the worst 
characters have wrought their daily toil, been favoured with one lonely pattern 
of piety. Piety at such times is : — (1.) A contrast. (2.) A rebuke. (3.) A 
testimony. (4.) A duty. 

III. That good men living in degenerate times are anxious that their family 
connections may be preserved from mora^ defilement. Noah begat a family in 
those degenerate times. The sons here mentioned were not the offspring of a 
mixed and wicked alliance. It is not unlikely that the purity of the domestic 
life of Noah may have been to a large extent his safeguard now. A pure home 
life is a refuge from the sin of the world at large. It is the tower into wliich a 
nian may run and be safe. And thus by thoughtful and intelligent con- 
siderations, by devout prayer, and by parental solicitations, Noah would 
endeavour to shield his family from the dark sins of the age. This is a parental 
duty, but it is often utterly neglected, and not unfrequently frustrated by 

N 113 



EOMILETIO COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



sorry indiscretions. The father who would keep a son from the world's 
allurements to "\dce must be wise in his measures, and kind in the application 
of them. In this task coercion means failure. 

IV. That good men living in degenerate times receive the communications 
of heaven in reference to the destiny of men. " And God said unto Noah, 
the end of all flesh is come before Me ; for the earth is filled with violence 
through them ; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth." There are 
times when God has need to speak to men. By whom does He speak ? Not by 
the great of the earth, not by the mighty ; but by the morally pure. Only a 
pure heart can vocalise the messages of God to humanity. To such only will the 
commission be entrusted. God did not give the tidings of threatened destruc- 
tion to the violent men, to the men of renown, but to Noah, who was just and 
jDerfect. To the good are entrusted the purposes of heaven in reference to the 
future of men. The servants of God know the things which must shortly come 
to pass. 1. This is a dignity. It is a great honour for any man to be selected 
as God's spokesman to the race, especially was it so in the case of Noah. He 
was probably despised by men, but God made him the teacher of those who 
ridiculed him. A Divine honour was thus put upon him and upon his name 
and family for ever. 2. This is a discipline. Honour which comes from God 
is generally associated with discipline often painful and severe. The visions are 
generally followed by the thorn in the flesh. Man is in danger of pride, hence 
exaltation has to be blended with pain. Noah not only was singled out to 
communicate the message of God to men, but he also had to build an ark for 
his own safety during the threatened flood. The building of this ark would be 
a terrible discipline to him. Its successful accomplishment would make him a 
moral hero. He would have to endure the world's scorn. He would be nearly 
alone in his task. 

Lessoks : 1. The good man is ivorth the mention and commendation of God. 
2. That true piety can survive the daj-kest ages and live through the most arduous 
toils. 3. That good men knoiv most of the onind of God in reftrence to the 
xvorld's future. 4. That good men will not be included in the destructions ichich 
overtake the ivicked. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verse 9. The piety of Noah : — In the worst of times true saints 

1. It was characterized by justice-, strive to be the most perfect toward 

2. It was characterized by moral per- God. 

faction. 3. It was characterized by The Clmstian's walk : — I. Christ the 

holy communion with God. rule of it. 2. Christ the company of 

Grace will not suffer the church to it. 3. Christ the end of it. 
cease, but continues its being in the 

accepted ones of God. Verse 10. Fruitfulness in body is 

Grace makes a record of the state an eflect of gxace, to continue God's 

and propagation of the church for the church, 

use of future ages. The holiest parent cannot bring forth 

In one person or famil)^ the church a holy seed ; that is born of grace, 

may be visibly preserved, from whence Little and small may be the visible 

it shall grow anew in after times. church ; father, sons, and wives, but 

Righteousness by faith must qualify right, 

the church of God, fi-om the first to the Grace puts the last before the first, 

last in the line of it. and the younger before the elder. Shem 

Evangelical perfection turns hearts is before Japhet. 
into the commandments of God, and is 

proper to the church. Verse 11. Apostacy from God and 



114 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GEyESIS. 



CHAP. VI. 



pollution of worship, is the corruption 
•of men. 

Such corruption in God's face is high 
provocation. 

Violent injury to man generally ac- 
companies apostacy from God. 

Fulness of such iniquity makes the 
world ripe for judgment. 

The earth is corrupt to-day : — 1. In 
its commerce. 2. In its pleasures. 
3. In its literature. 4. In its ambitions. 

Verse 12. God must see and mark 
iniquity done before Him. 

God layeth open all the corruption 
of men vfhich He sees. 

Man is a self-corrupter ; he pollutes 
his own way. 

The habitation of man is an aggra- 
vation of his sin : — 1 . The earth is 
beautiful. 2. It is fruitful. 3. It is 
prophetic. 

God's look toward the world : — 
1. Scrutinizing. 2. Penetrating. 3. 
Terrifying. 4. Astonishing. 5. The 
prelude of doom. 

Man's way on the earth : — 1. Per- 
verse. 2. Contrary to God's law. 3. 
Contrary to human enjoyment. 4. 
Characterized by impurity. 5. Attracts 
the wrath of God. 

Verse 13. God talks with good men. 



God reveals His wrath before He 
executes it. 

Thus was Noah put in possession of 
God's thoughts about the scene around 
him. The effect of the word of God 
was to lay bare the roots of all that 
which man's e3^e might rest upon with 
complacency and pride. The human 
heart might SAvell with pride, and the 
bosom heave with emotion, as the eye 
ran down along the brilliant ranks of 
men of art, men of skill, men of might, 
and men of renown. Tlie sound of the 
harp and the organ might send a tlirill 
through the whole soul, while, at the 
same time, the ground was cultivated, 
and man's necessities were provided for 
in such a way as to contradict any 
thought in reference to approaching 
judgment. But, oh, these solemn words, 
"I ivlll destroy." What a heavy gloom 
they would necessarily cast over the 
glittering scene ! Could not man's 
genius invent some way of escape ? 
Could not the "mighty man deliver 
himself by his much strength ? " Alas ! 
no : there was one way of escape, but 
it was revealed to faith, not ta sight — 
not to reason — not to imagination 
[C.H.M.] 

Divine destruction : — 1. Richly de- 
served. 2. Awfully certain. 3. Peni- 
tently averted. 4. Generally neglected. 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 14—22. 

The Divii^ELY- Achieved Safety of the Good, and its Connection with 

THE LiFE-GlVING AGENCIES OF THE MATERIAL UNIVERSE. 

I. That God is never at a loss for a method whereby to achieve the safety 
of the Good. "Make thee an ark of Gopher wood," verse 14. 1. We find 
that the good are often in eminent peril. This is a fact too obvious to be over- 
looked or mistaken. It is not in the economy of heaven that moral goodness 
should avert from men all the perils of daily life and human circumstances. 
Scripture biography is an exemplification of this truth, and the annals of 
civilized and Christian nations lend a similar testimony. Good men are often 
in danger through the persecutions of their ungodly enemies. Daniel. The 
three Hebrew children. Sometimes royal mandates have been issued for the 
arrest of the innocent and the pure. But moral goodness is brave in time 
of peril. It is protected in imminent suffering. While good men are in this 
world, peril is a condition of their life, as storm is a condition of maritime life 
on the great ocean. 2. We find that the good are often in 2Mril through the 
prevalence of sin in the world around them. We do not read that Noah was 
subject to severe persecution, though it is not improbable that he was ; but his 
danger more particularly arose fi'om association with a degenerate community 

115 



CHAP. VI. HOMILETIQ COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 

at the time of its threatened destruction. The ancient world was to be destroyed 
by a flood ; and there was danger lest Noah and his family should participate 
in the destruction. It does sometimes occur in the economy of heaven that the 
good and evil are apparently punished together, the same wave lands both on 
eternal and unknown shores. But it is only in appearance, for though the same 
event happens to both, the moral character of each renders it difierent in 
significance and destiny. To the wicked it is a penalty of woe, which will be 
eternal ; while to the good it is a momentary discipline of pain relieved by the 
grace of God, and which will soon break into the bright and unending joy of 
heaven. Both characters go into the chamber of peril at the same portal, but 
they are immediately accompanied by varied companions, and they awake and 
emerge to widely different experiences and destinies. And thus a wicked and 
degenerate people may place a good man in extreme circumstances of danger. 
They are attractive of the divine anger and judgment. 3. We find that when 
it K the 2)urpose of God to save the good from pe^^il, He is never at a loss for 
meaus whereby to do so. He does not always allow the good man to be des- 
troyed by the angry waters let loose upon a degenerate world. He will instruct 
him as to the best method of safety, yes, even to the building of an ark, in wliich 
he shall outride the deluge. And thus the elements which shall destroy the 
wicked, shall bear up his wondrous craft in unthreatened safety. Such are 
the mysterious purposes of God. He is never at a loss for means to achieve 
the welfare of His saints. He can accomplish it by a direct agency, as in the 
case of Daniel, when heaven stopped the mouth of the lion ; as in the case of 
Jonah, when the great fish was made to preserve the prophet's life ; or He can 
teach men how to achieve their safety by their own natural and daily effort. 
It is generally the divine way to make men construct the ark of their own safety. 
Heaven will not save from peril an improvident or thoughtless man. He is not 
worth saving. Heaven saves men who help themselves. As a rule God saves 
men who are brave and industrious enough to build their own ark. 

n. That in the working out of these methods for the safety of the good, 
the good are desired to render their most effective co-operatioii. — " And this 
is the fashion which thou slialt make it of," ver. 15. God arranges the plans 
for the safety of the good, and the Noah to be saved from the deluge has to 
work them out. God is the arclutect of the ark, and Noah is the builder. 
Heaven teaches men the method of their own safety. Noah was instructed 
audibly. Men are now instructed by spiritual influences, silent but distinct. 
God quietly places in the mind of the good man an idea of the way in which 
his deliverance must be wrought, and he has carefully to work it out into 
conduct. This idea becomes the inspiration of energetic toil. If men would 
be saved from the j)erils of life they must work out the Divine idea in reference 
to their safety, they must earnestly co-operate with the silent influences of the 
Holy Spirit, and with the outworkings of Divine Providence in daily life, and 
then they will attain the truest welfare and safety of which man is capable, a 
safety environed by the wisdom and power of God. This co-operation : — 1. If 
involves an utter self- abandonment to the Divine teaching. Noah was told to 
build an ark. This to him would seem a great folly. The suggestion would be 
somewhat repugnant to his reason. He would not be able to understand the 
command, nor indeed the great necessity for its execution. But he had faith 
in God, and this was the animating principle of his conduct. And those who 
wish to be safe amidst the future perils of being must go and do likewise. 
They must listen to the Divine teaching. They must believe God. They must 
rely upon His word without hesitation. They must give themselves up to the 
Divine inspiration. God inspires men to build an ark, as well as to write a 
book. It is in yielding to such an impulse, and in acting on such a principle, 
116 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



that the rude carpenter becomes a saintly hero, preserved of God from an 
otherwise universal danger. 2. It involves self-sacrifice. Men who are to be 
saved from the impending dangers of the world are not exempt from hardship. 
The ark is not built by some unknown hand, and gently floated on some 
favourable tide to the door of Noah's house, so that he and his family have 
nothing to do but to take possession of it. He who would dwell in the ark 
during the storm must build it. This involves much anxiety. All other 
enterprise has to be suspended, this heaven-given task demands an undivided 
attention and energy. The cost of such a building would be immense. The 
undertaking would not be popular, and men would require high wages for their 
help. Hence we can imagine that it would necessitate great self-sacrifice on 
the part of Noah in order to its completion. But his salvation from the deluge 
was ample repayment for all his effort and self denial. So men who would be 
saved from the world's impending doom must be willing to sacrifice their all for 
Christ, and when the waters rage, He will be their refuge. 3. It invoices much 
ridicule. The man who builds an ark against the coming deluge will always 
be ridiculed by those who have no insight into the moral history of the future. 
Somfr men are too wicked, and others are too thoughtless to inquire into the 
significance of future events, they think only of the passion of the passing 
moment and not of the solemnities of the eternal ages. These will not under- 
stand the earnest labours of the good to avert impending dangers, and conse- 
quently will often regard them with contempt. Their ridicule will soon have 
to cease its mockery in the cry for help. Hence we see that the safety of the 
good in times of peril and retribution requires their own effort, in harmony 
with Divine plans, and that it shall be self-sacrificing and brave. 

III. That in the working out of these methods for the safety of the good, 
the Divine Providence connects them with the temporal needs of the future. 

" And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into 
the ark, to keep them alive with thee ; they shall be male and female." 
(verses 19 — 22). 1. llie perils which overtake the wicked are not yet intended to 
put an end to the existing order of the universe. The deluge which was predicted 
to come upon those ancient sinners, was not intended to terminate the affairs of 
the universe, to make an end of all its material splendour, or to permanently 
interrui^t the usual course of things. The race was to be drowned. The brute 
world was to share in the ruin. But the earth itself was to survive the deluge. 
Hence it was necessary that provision should be made for its re-population, both 
with man and beast. And so it is now, the sinner is destroyed and sent to his 
own place, but the material world survives his fall. But this will not always be 
so, as one day the elements will melt with fervent heat, and will pass away as a 
shrivelled parchment. 2. Then the existing order of things after the flood must 
he restored by natural and ordinary methods. The old world empty is not to 
be re-furnished by miracle, or by the immediate voice of God, as in the first 
instance. It is to be replenished by the ordinary method of life, which is by 
generation. It is not the purpose of heaven to recover the devastation occa- 
sioned by sin by miraculous agency. Sin makes a havoc which takes long ages 
to repair. It will soon empty a large world. Piety makes the desolate world 
fruitful. The life-giving agencies of the future are given by God into the care 
of the good man, their continuance is connected with his safety, and they are to 
go forth from his refuge to replace the devastation occasioned by moral evil. 
3.^ Thus we see that the safety of the good is inseparably joined and associated 
with the continuance and welfare of the universe at large. The good are not 
saved from the perils of the world for the mere preservation of their own lives, 
not for the mere purposes of religion, but for the preservation of the life-giving 
agencies of the world at large. A good man casts his mantle of protection 

117 



IIOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



over the commercial, social, and material interests of the universe. The lives 
of the good are linked by God to the continued welfare of humanity. Lessons : 
1. Let a rememhrance of God's care for the good insph'e comfort within the 
hearts of those in perilous circmnstances. 2. That good men should he thoughtful 
and devout in their co-operation with the Spirit and Providence of God. 
3. That hy such co-operation men enhance the temporal interests of the world. 

The Ark, a Type of the Scheme of Human Salvation. 

I. That like the Ark, the scheme of Human Salvation was wrought out 

after a Divinely - given plan and method. "And God said unto Noah, 

make thee an ark of gopher wood ; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt 

pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou 

shalt make it of" (Ver. 13 — 15.) 1. LiJce the ArA-, the scheme of Salvation 

was not conceived hy any human mind. It was utterly impossible that any 

human being in the ancient world could have conceived the idea of building an 

ark for the purpose of outriding the angry waters of the deluge. It could not 

have originated in the mind of Noah, as he would not have anticipated the 

impending doom but for the Divine announcement. And as for the men of 

the times, they were totally ignorant of, and were equally unconcerned about, 

the threats and purposes of heaven. But even when the world became conscious 

of its imperilled future, it would be thoroughly unable to devise any method of 

safety. It would be altogether impotent in the sad emergency. And in this 

respect, the ancient world is but a type of what would be the woful condition 

of fallen and sinful humanity, but for the aid of heaven. Man knows that he 

is a sinner, by the revelation of God. He has broken the original law of his 

being. He has lost his primitive innocence. And, through the operation of 

many causes, he has become altogether degenerate. His mental life is impure. 

His social r^'^^^^^^ ships are unhallowed. He is the creature of violent passion. 

How thf'^^^ ^® ^^ ■)nceive any method of salvation from the judgment to which 

.J.-,- wickedness has rt^^.j^flgi-gfl \^\^ liable? Probably he has no disposition to 

contemplate the futu. .^g ^f j^jg being. And if he has, and is anxious to know 

how its penalty may L^g averted, of himself he will be unable to answer his 

anxieties. He does ncf ,^ j^j^^^ ^j-^g relation in which he stands to God. He is 

ignorant of the compiet«Lg meaning of sin. He possesses none of the factors 

necessary to determine ft j^g probable issues of the present condition of things, 

and has not sufficient insig^,]^^ ^j^^q ^j^g purposes of God, or energy, to plan a 

method of safety from a^i ,^gj.-i g^ astounding. Sin destroys the true energies 

of the mind. In the se^jlLl^^iai- sphere of life, man is capable of sublime invention ; 

he can solve the most ^wjifficult j)roblein3, and conquer the most dire emergencies. 

His genius in this res^^^gct is at the basis of the civilization of nations. Its 

discoveries are of vast wo^^.^]^ ^^ humanity. They are rich in mental energy. 

They embody patient lab. ^^^^.^ They are helpful in commerce. They increase 

our comfort. They enhance, ^^.^ national prowess. They are the pride of our 

philosophy and learning. I'l'j^gy augment our national fame. And in view of 

these things we cannot but api^ij^^^^j ^l^g inventive genius of man. But when 

we enter the moral sphere ot litcj^^ ^j^g^ ^g jg^^^g ^^^^^ ^^ ^ genius and a scholar, 

and approach him as a sinner, we ^^^^^^ |^-j^^ utterly destitute of any idea as to 

what will constitute his iuture s.^^fg^y f^.^^^^ ^I^g ^^,^.^^^1^ ^f q.^^^ jjg ^^^^^ g^n 

make a steam-engine cannot make t.^^^ ^^^ . j^g ^^^^ ^^^ p^^jj^^ ^ picture to be 

the admiration of the ages, cannot ^^^tline the method of his own salvation in 

the coming danger Yes . man is better ^^^^^ ^^ ^^j^g ^^^ problems, and to ascertain 

the relations of the material universe ,^^^^ gf ^l^g ^^^^.^^1 ^g i^^^g^^g ^^^^ 

about the fires of earth, and how to esctc, ^| -^^ injury, than how to avert the 

118 ^ 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. chap. vr. 



lightnings of God's ^vl'atll. He has greater facihties for comprehending and 
taming the destructive forces around him than he has for those above him. 
He has a wider knowledge of their relations. He can make a nearer approach 
to their secrets. He has previous calculations and experiments to aid his 
inquiries. He has instruments with which to perform his operations. Whereas 
in reference to the retributive agencies of the future, man, without a Divine 
revelation, knows not their relation to himself, he cannot penetrate their 
mystery, he is unable to ascertain their destiny ; he is alone in the investigation 
of them, no previous thinkers can yield him aid ; he has no method whereby to 
calculate their result, and certainly cannot avert their terrible consequence. 
Man cannot grapple with the awful problem of his sin, and its bearing on the 
future penalties. It is a certain fact, -that man apart from God, however gifted, 
cannot originate the idea of an ark, or of any method of salvation from the 
consequences of his guilt. Here he is in an eternal perplexity. How pitiful his 
condition. For, as Noah and his family would have inevitably perished in the 
deluge had not God told them how to accomplish their safety, so, had not 
heaven given to men a scheme of salvation, they must have endured the 
consequences of their degeneracy, 2. Lil-e the A rl-, the scheme of Salvation 
was originated by God,and ivas the outworking of a Divine plan. The idea of 
building an ark was implanted in the mind of Noah by God. And the manner 
in which it was to be wrought out was communicated to him in varied and 
complete detail. Thus Noah did not build the ark after his own imagination, 
nor according to the dictate of his own reason, but from a pattern showed him 
by Jehovah. And so with the scheme of human salvation. As we have seen, 
man had no idea as to how to avert the calamity consequent upon his sin. 
But God, by His written word, announced the advent of Jesus Christ as the 
world's Saviour. Thus came to man the first merciful idea of salvation from 
the retribution of moral evil. Nor was the sending of Jesus Christ into the 
world to save sinners the outcome of a mere idea in the Divine mind, but of a 
well-defined plan. And we can trace this plan all through the ages; first in 
dim outline, and then in sublime completion. The promise merges into 
prophecy, the prophecy into history ; and the seed of the woman is seen in the 
incarnate Christ. Thus the scheme of salvation was not an accidental thought 
in the mind of Jehovah. It was a pre-conceived plan. Hence it was in 
beautiful harmony with all the works of God. The material universe was in 
idea before it was spoken into permanent form ; the sun, moon and stars were 
arranged in thought before they were sent on their light-giving mission. 
Throughout the world we have evidence of plan. There is nothing accidental 
n it. There is nothing random in it. Not one single flower -is out of place, 
even though it bloom upon a desert. And so in the scheme of salvation, there 
is evidence of design throughout. The priest at the sacrificial altar, and every 
incident in the life of Christ, was pre-arranged. This plan is the outcome of 
a Divine intelligence. It displayed a heavenly wisdom. It conveys unfailing 
comfort to the human soul. It makes men feel that their salvation was 
intentional, and enables them to place reliance on all its detail. 

II. Like the ark, the scheme of human salvation was antecedently very 
unlikely and improbable for the purpose. If Noah, or any other individual in 
the ancient world had been informed that it was the purpose of God to save 
them from the deluge, they would not have imagined that he would have 
employed such a method. They would not have conceived that he would have 
saved them in such a manner. They might have thought that He would 
conceal them in some happy nook where the fury of the angry billows should 
not reach ; or that He would convey them to some distant spot hitherto 
unlmo-^vn, where they might dwell in safety till the storm was spent. Such 

119 



CHAP. VI. HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



would probably have been the imaginings of the human mind. But as for 
constructing a rude ark in which to reside during the storm, such an idea 
would have been the last to have gained their consent. And so, in reference 
to the scheme of human salvation, it is almost the last that man would have 
anticipated. That God should send forth His own son into the world, to be 
incarnate, to die, and to rise again, for the sins of man, was antecedently the 
most unlikely method of securing our safety that could have been selected. So 
weak is the human mhid to conceive the purposes of Grod. 1. Some of the 
ancient tvorld would no doiiht say that the ark ivas wanting in artistic beauty ; 
and have not men said the same in reference to the scheme of human salvation'? 
Look at the ark finished as it stands up yonder the pride and astonishment 
of Noah, its proportions unequal, its dimensions extravagant, and its materials 
altogether void of beauty as of polish. It was the building of a rude workman. 
And as such, it would invite the scorn and ridicule of the people of the 
age. And men have denounced the scheme of salvation as utterly destitute of 
moral loveliness. They point to its varied parts, the sacrifices of the ancient 
times, the bitter sufferings, and painful death of Christ, and ask if such can be 
accepted as a plan of beauty. But such men are mistaken in their ideas of 
beauty,_as were the_ people of Noah's day. The beauty of the ark was not 
in its timbers, but in its merciful design. And so the moral loveliness of the 
scheme of man's salvation, was not so much in the historic circumstances by 
which it was accompanied, as in the holy and divine purpose contemplated therein. 
In the death of a supposed impostor, there was humanly speaking notliing to be 
desired, there was to the human eye no pencilling of light and glory, but in 
the pardon it secures, in the moral purity it renders possible, and in the 
heaven it provides, there is a wealth of beauty beyond compare. Thus 
like the ark, the cross was unsightly to the outward eye, while to the inner 
vision of the believing soul it was bright with immortal glories. Only the few 
are true judges of the morally beautiful. There is no beauty equal to the rose of 
Sharon. There is none that has been more despised. 2. So)}ie of the ancient 
world ivouldno doubt say that the Ark would be unable to accomplish itspu7'pose; 
and have not men said the same in reference to the scheme of human Salvation ? 
Many people who came to view the Ark, would predict its utter failure in the 
time of severe trial, which would be occasioned by the angry deluge. They 
would say that such a huge mass of timber would not float upon the sweeping 
waters ; that Noah would not be able to control its movements, or direct its 
course ; in short that it would soon expose the pious man to the flood he hoped 
to escape. But they were false and ignorant prophets, who knew not that the 
secret of the Lorrd was with them that fear him. Men have uttered the same 
prediction in reference to the scheme of human salvation. They have said that 
it would not answer its contemplated purpose. They have found fault with 
it as a moral structure. They say that it has not sufficient regard for all the 
exigencies of the case, and that when the times of retribution come it will be 
a wreck. This is the prediction of infidelity. It is uttered without sufficient 
warrant. It is destined to disappointment. No storm can reach the soul that 
has taken refuge in Christ. He is competent to carry it to the eternal haven 
of peace. He has shielded thousands from the retributions of Divine anger. 
3. Some of the ancient world would no doubt come to criticise the ark; and have 
not men done the same in reference to the scheme of human salvation? This is 
implied in what we have already stated ; the artist would criticise its beauty ; 
the mechanic of the day would inspect its structure and material ; the scientists 
of the age would regard it in relation to the elements ; and the philosopher 
would view it as the outcome of frenzy. And no doubt each would view it 
from his own peculiar standpoint ; and many would imagine that they could 
have built a better thing themselves if there were any need for it. And is 
120 



EOMILETia COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



not all this typical of the amount and kind of criticism which has attacked the 
scheme of human salvation ? The man of intellectual predilictions has criticised 
and even written books in reference to it. He cannot understand it, and is it 
any -^ronder ? Could any person understand the ark of Noah without going 
inside it ? Nor can men, however philosophical they may be, comprehend the 
scheme of man's salvation unless they have practical and personal experience of 
it. This is the only remedy for a hostile criticism of the cross. Noah did not 
criticise the ark ; he was saved by it. Men of emotional and fearful natures 
have approached the scheme of salvation, and anxiously inquired as to its worth. 
They are timid. They fear it will fail them in the hour of trial. And many 
imagine that they can save themselves from the impending doom without it. 
They are mistaken. Many never criticise the ark. They are thoughtless. 
They neglect it altogether. A sceptical and merely critical spirit is the worst 
which a man can bring to the sacred inspection of the scheme of salvation. 

III. That as the ark had a window, so the scheme of human salvation is 
illumined by the light of God. The ark was not in total darkness, but was 
illumined by a window, the plan of which was Divinely given. The light thus 
brouglit into the ark would be very necessary to industry, comfort, and life. 
Otherwise all within would have been in much the same sad condition as the 
multitudes without. In fact it would have been no refuge to Noah and his 
family. 1. The scheme of human salvation is illumined by the Holy Spirit. 
As the rays of the natural light streamed in through the window of the ark, and 
discovered all its compartments to Noah : so the light of the Divine Spirit of 
God shines into the wondrous scheme of man's redemption. This light discloses 
the meaning of salvation, the great and universal need of it, and also the awful 
retribution which it averts. Thus men can only see all the inner departments 
of the great seheme of salvation when they walk in the light of the Holy Spirit 
of God. Then they see its construction, they perceive its intention, and can 
admire the great wisdom displayed in its every department. The folly of man is 
that he tries to see the scheme of salvation by the aid of a light which he 
himself possesses. He seeks not the light from on high. What would have 
been the folly and danger of Noah had he rejected the light of heaven, and 
substituted a tinder and flint of his own for it ? He would not have seen the 
ark to perfection, he would not have been acquainted with it, in fact half his 
time he would have been in darkness. Yet tliis is the course men are con- 
stantly pursuing in reference to the scheme of human salvation. They use their 
own feeble lights in the investigation of it, in preference to the eternal light 
of God, and is it any wonder that they get imperfect conceptions of it ? If a 
man would see God's truth, he must use the light which comes in at the God- 
given window. That light is the purest and the best. The light of mere intellect 
is feeble compared with it. Thus by walking in the light of God shall we see 
in the scheme of salvation its moral beauty, its fitness for the end contemplated, 
and its exhibition of the manifol'd wisdom of heaven. 2. This illumination of the 
scheme of salvation is the abiding comfort and joy of man. There are and ever 
will be mysteries' in the scheme of human salvation which no created intelligence 
will be able to fathom, or comprehend. There were compartments in the ark 
where the light was almost darkness, and where the eye of man would be almost 
useless. But into these there is little need that Noah should go. All the 
broad places of the ark are well lighted. So the plan of redemption is illumined 
by the Holy Spirit in all its departments where human intelligence is required 
to toil. All is revealed that it is necessary for man to know. And this is the 
comfort of the human heart. It is the joy of the human soul. We ought 
indeed to be grateful that the great centre truth of doctrine is thus so well 
illumined by the good Spirit of God. 

121 



HOMILETIC COMMEXTAJiY: GEXESIS. 



IV. That as the ark had a doar. so into the scheme of human salvation 
there is bnt one method of entrance. 1. That like the ark the scheme of salvation 
has an entrance. The ark was not built without a door, if it had been it would 
have been useless, Noah could not have entered. Neither was the scheme of 
salvation completed by Jesus Christ and then left without the possibility of 
human entrance. This would have been a mockery of human hope. Christ is 
the way to eternal safety. 2. That like the ark, the scheme of salvation has 
but one entrance. There wa^ only one door in the ark, and that was at the side. 
Noah was commanded to make it. And so in reference to the scheme of human 
salvation, there is but one mode of entrance, and that is by Jesus Christ, and 
no man can come unto the Father but by Him. Audi this one way is sufficient 
to admit all comers. None have to wait for admission because the door is 
crowded, and will not admit the multitudes who are anxious to get in. If the 
door is solitar}-, it is wide, and easily accessible. Men may attempt to make 
new doors into the ark of salvation, but they cannot. They can only enter by the 
appointed one. There is no other name given under heaven whereby we can 
be saved, but the name of Jesus. 

V. That like the ark, the scheme of human salvation is efficient to the 
accomplishment of the designed purpose. The ark was efficient to the salvation 
of Noah and his family from the terrible deluge ; and so the scheme of salvation 
wrought out by Jesus Christ is, and will be, efficient to the redemption of men 
from the guilt and retribution of sin into the eternal joy of heaven. And as 
Nocih was landed almost upon a new world, so the redeemed sinner shall enter 
upon the possession of the sinless world, not made desolate by a flood, but 
enriched with all the fulness and glory of God. 

VI. That like the ark. the scheme of human salvation is neglected by the 
vast multitude. The mjTiads of the old world perished in the angry deluge ; the 
exploit and glory of the age, all perished in this watery grave. Only Noah and 
his family were saved. The men of the age were without excuse in their 
destruction. They had been warned of the penalty of their sin. The facts of 
the case were made known to them by Noah. They paid him no heed. 
And so it is to-day. The sins of men are waiting the retributions of God. The 
judgment is in the future. The ministers of Christ proclaim it near. The 
world apparently beKeves them not, but continues in its degenerate course of 
life. Its passion will only be siibdued by the woe of the actual calamity. 
Then it wiU see its foUy, when too late ! Lessors : — 1. That a Divine method 
of salvation is provided for the human race from the future retributions of the 
itnivet'se. 2. That this salvation is equal to all the need of the case. 3. That 
men icho neglect or despise it are sure to perish. 4. The holy wisdom of entering 
the ark at once. 

SUGGESTIVE COJUtlEXTS OX THE TEHSES. 
The PREACHDfG OF THE ArK. 

Verse 14. The ark stands out in the fJim \rrath. Let us review it in these various 

scene of the remote past, an object of the phases, 
deepest interest. As \re gaze on its huge 

hulk, now floating on the dark waters, then I. A memorial of Divine goodness. 1. 

resting in majestic repose on the heights of .It reminds us of His saints. Amongst the 

Ararat in the sunshine of the renovated thousands of the world, Xoah stood alone, 

world, it seems to us to be replete with in- firm in faith, dauntless in courage; God does 

Btruction. It is at once a memorial of Divine not forget bim ; the innocent shall not suffer 

goodness and a testimony to the strength of with the guilty. " God waited . . . while 

human faith. It appears both as a symbol of the ark was a preparing." 1 Pet. iiL 20. It 

Divine mercy, and as a beacon of Divine reminds us of His regard /or the families of ff is 
122 



MOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



saints. It may be some of the m.em.bers of 
Noah's family did not participateintheirfather's 
faith, yet all were saved. It is a universal 
fact that God specially blesses the children of 
TTi's servants. They may not be among the 
saved at last, but they have enjoyed more 
privileges, heard more warnings, received more 
entreaties than others. 

3. It reminds us of God's goodness to the 
ivorld. 

AH are invited to enter the ark. None who 
sought admission woxild be refused. 

n. A testim.oiiy to Noah's faith.. Heb. 
xi. 7. 1. It was on account of Noah's faith 
the ark ivas devised. 2. Faith built and fur- 
nished it. 3. £>/ faith Noah entered. 4. 
Faith sustained him there. 

m. A symbol of the Saviour. 1. The 
ark icas a refuge. " Thou art my hiding place." 
Psalm xxvii. 7. 2. The ark icas a home. 
" Lord, thou hast been our home in all genera- 
tions." Psalm xc. 1. 3. The ark was a 
temple. There Xoah and his family wor- 
shipped. We must be in Christ if we would 
be acceptable worshippers. John, the divine, 
speaks of the Lord after this fashion, "The 
Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the 
temple of it." Rev. xd. 22.. 

4. The ark was a conveyance. So to speak, 
it bore Noah from the old to the new world ; 
from the valley of his labours and sorrows to 
the mountain of rest and plenty. " I am the 
way," said Jesus. 

rv. A beacon for the sinner. The ark 

warns sinners of their danger. It points out 
the awful nature of unbelief, of voluptuous- 
ness, of pride. It warns us that, though hand 
join in hand, the wicked shall not be un- 
punished." That numbers cannot shield us 
from divine wrath. The crime of the ante- 
diluvians was none the less terrible, because 
imiversally fashionable ! 1. The ark i^ro- 
claims the wilfulness of sinners. ^Yho built it? 
Were not many of its builders destroyed ? We 
may be the means of insuring safety for 
others, and be oiu^elves lost. 1 Cor. ix. 27. 
1. The ark icarns us of the poioer of sin. How 
long was it building ? Month after month it 
was surveyed by hundreds, still they continued 
in sin. Beware of the deceitfulness of sin. 
Appl. Listen to the strange and varied story 
this silent ark so eloquently tells. Hear its at- 
testation of the goodness and faithfvilness of 
God ; hear, too, its awfid revelation of His 
power to pimish and destroy. — \_Stems and 
Twigs.} 

In pouring out indignation on the 
^vicked world, God provideth for his 
saints. 

God alone knoweth how to deliver 
the just from destruction to come. 

However, God alone saveth, yet it 
is by means. 

Men must use God's means in order 



to salvation according to his prescript. 

In God's command of using means, 
there is implied a promise. As to make 
the ark. 

Means of salvation to sight are but 
mean and despicable, a little timber 
and pitch. 

Verse 15, 16, All church-work for 
salvation must have its Kne and mea- 
sure from God. 

Sufficient dimensions doth God give 
to the means of salvation for his peo- 
ple. 

Light must be in the means or 
instrument of man's salvation. 

A due proportion of place is designed 
by God for all creatures admitted into 
the church ark for salvation. 

Verse 17. It was an appalling an- 
nouncement ; how solemn and how 
stern ; " I, even I," — the repetition 
has in it an awful emphasis and force 
— " I, even I." It is the Lord who 
speaks, the Creator, the Preserver, now 
coming forth in -uTath as the Des- 
troyer. — (Dr. Candlisk). 

It is an assurance that He will ex- 
ecute His decree, not merely on account 
of what He has said to His creatui-es, 
but also on account of what He is in 
Himself — that His very nature recjuires 
the thing to be done. — (Dr. Candlish). 

God, even God himself, will testify 
against the unbelief of the wicked, and 
will encourage faith in His own. 

God not only threatens, but executes 
vengeance on the wicked. 

Rare and unheard of judgments hath 
God in store for unbelievers. 

All creatures are at God's commands 
to work His vengeance. 

Vengeance spreads in the earth, as 
far as wickedness. 

Corruption of sin in man brings 
destruction upon the life of all flesh 
that serves him. 

God has His time to rid sinners 
from under heaven. 

Universal sin brings universal death. 

Abused mercy turns into fury 
{_Trapp]. 

A dismal doom ; and God is now 
123 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



ibsolute in Hia threatening, because 
He will be resolute in His execution 
Trapp\. 

Verse 18. Special grace exempts 
Erom general desolation. 

God's covenant only conveys His 
grace for salvation. 

God makes His covenant to special 
persons. 

God makes His covenant of grace 
stable to His covenanted ones. 

The covenant of grace carries a com- 
mon salvation in it. 

The whole family sometimes fares 
the better for a gracious saint. 

Wicked men may have the mercies 
of God's covenant, and never yet be 
in it. 

Salvation: — 1. Given to man. 2. 
Extended to brutes. 3. Not by 
chance. 

The covenant with Noah. Here is 
the first appearance of a covenant be- 
tween God and man on the face of 
Scripture. A covenant is a solemn 
compact, tacit or express, between two 
parties, in which each is bound to 
perform his part.. Hence a covenant 
implies the moral faculty ; and where- 
ever the moral faculty exists, there 
must needs be a covenant. Conse- 
quently, between God and man there 
was of necessity a covenant from the 
very beginning, though the name do 
not appear. At first it was a covenant 
of works, in regard to man ; but now 
that works have failed, it can only be 
a covenant of grace to the penitent 
sinner. My covenant. The word my 
points to its original establishment with 
Adam. My primeval covenant, which 
I am resolved not to abandon. Will 
I establish. Though Adam has failed, 
yet will I find means of maintaining 
my covenant of life with the seed of 
the woman. With thee. Though all 
flesh be to perish through breach of 
my covenant, yet will I uphold it with 
thee. {Dr. Murphy.] 

Thou and thy sons. Yet Ham soon 
after degenerated : for the present he 
concealed his wickedness from men ; 
from God he could not. He bears 
with hypocrites in his visible church 
124 



for a season, till the time of separation. 
YFrapp^ 

Verses 19, 20. Providence determi- 
neth to continue the world by propa- 
gation with male and female. 

The highest providence useth man's 
care in saving creatures. 

An instinct doth God give to crea- 
tures whom He will save, to come to 
the means of their salvation. 

Life of all kinds in heaven and earth 
is the work of God and issue of his 
counsels. 

If more questions be asked as to 
how untamed and savage animals could 
be got to live harmoniously and quietly 
together, let one consideration be re- 
membered. The same Lord who will 
hereafter make the wolf dwell with the 
lamb and the leopard lie down with 
the kid, when the earth shall be as 
full of the knowledge of the Lord, as 
it then was full of the waters covering 
the sea — that same Lord who designed 
the ark floating on the flood to be the 
very type and emblem of that holy 
mountain of his, in all which they 
shall not hurt nor destroy — He could 
with equal ease both move the crea- 
tures to enter in at Noah's command, 
and constrain them for a brief season 
to resume the peaceful nature which 
they had in Paradise, before this crea- 
tion began to groan for the sin of 
man — the nature which — are they not 
to have again when creation is de- 
livered and Paradise restored. (Isaiah 
xi. 6—9 ; Rom. viii. 19—22. \Pr. 
Catidlish.] 

Verses 21, 22. Life God maintains 
by food convenient, and therefore com- 
mands providence to men to get meat 
for themselves and beasts. 

True faith in God giveth obedience 
to him. 

God's command alone is the rule of 
faith's obedience. 

Faith giveth full and thorough re- 
turns to all that God enjoineth. 

God could have kept them alive 
without either food or ark. But He 
will have us serve His providence, in 
use of lawful means ; and so to trust 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Him, as that we do not tempt Him. 
Noah's Obedience, 

The deluge the greatest demonstration of 
God's hatred of sin, with the exception of the 
Cross. One favoured servant was exempted 
from the retribution — ^Noah, 

I. The obedience rendered by Him. It is 

not easy to form a just estimate of this. The 
circumstances in which he was placed. He was 
appointed a preacher of righteousness, and had 
to predict the deluge. Thus for 120 years; 
without sign of its approach. The delay would 
be almost fatal to the message. The means he 
toas directed to use for the preservation of God's 
chosen remnant. The ark. Expense and labour 
of it. Ridicule ; almost beyond endurance. 
His perseverance in the use of these means till he 
had completed the work assigned him. Nothing 
could induce him to desist from his work tUl 
it was perfected in every part. This obedience 
was of the most exalted character. It shows 
how firmly he believed the Divine testimony, 
how he stood in awe of God, and how deter- 
mined he was to avail himself of the means of 
safety offered. In accordance with this is 

II. The obedience required of us, 1. The 

danger to which we are exposed is similar. God 
has declared that He will call the world to 
judgment. We see no preparation for it. 
Multitudes laugh at it. The %vTath of God 
will fall on them. 2. The means provided for 
our escape are similar. God has provided an 
ark for us — His own Son — into which all who 
believe shall enter; but which will be closed 
against an unbelieving world. Many think 
this absm-d. They prefer the ark of their own 
good works. 3. The distinction that will be 
made between the believing and unbelieving world 
wiU be similar. Learn from the whole : — 1, 
The oMce of faith. Not to argue, but to be- 
lieve God. We are not to ask how we can be 
punished in hell, or how faith in Christ can 



save us. We are to credit the Divine testi- 
mony. 2. The necessity of fear. If we believe 
God's threats against sinners, how can we but 
fear? 3. The benefit of obedience. Noah above 
the waves in perfect safety [Simeon's Appendix]. 

The ark a type of the churcli : — 

1. As Noah built the ark, so Christ, by- 
prophets, apostles, etc., built the church. 

2. As the ark is made of the most 
durable wood, so the church endureth 
constantly against all adversaries, 3. 
As pitch was used about the ark to join 
the parts together, so by ardent love 
the members of the church are united. 

4. As the ark was pitched inside and 
out, so the faithful have not only good 
works externally, but holiness within, 

5. As the ark was more long than broad, 
and more broad than high, so the church 
is of greater extent in its faith, which 
is longitude, than in its charity, which 
is latitude, and yet in its love of greater 
extent than in its heavenly contempla- 
tion, which is altitude. 6. As the ark 
was distingiiished by rooms and stories, 
some higher and some less, so in the 
church there is great diversity of mem- 
bers, attainments, and social standing. 
7. Like the ark, there is but one door 
into the church ; and truth is the only 
light of the church. 8. All sorts of 
creatures came into the ark, both clean 
and unclean, so all sorts, both good and 
bad, are in the church. 9. As the 
clean creatures came in by sevens, so 
the godly in the church are united to- 
gether in greater numbers. 10. As in 
the ark there was food for all lands of 
creatures, so in the church there is a 
variety of food for the soul. 



ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER VL 

BT THE 

EEV. WM. ADAMSON. 



Moral Declension ! Ver. 1, As there is 
a law of continuity, whereby in ascending we 
can only mount step by step ; so they who 
descend must sink with an ever-increasing 
velocity. No propagation is more rapid than 
that of evil ; no growth more certain. He 
who is in for a penny, if he does not resolutely 
fly, will iind that he is in for a pound. The 
longer the avalanche rolls down the glacier 
slopes, the swifter becomes its speed. A little 
group of Alpine travellers saw a flower bloom- 



ing on the slope of the cliff on which they 
stood surveying the prospect below. Each 
started to secure the prize ; but as they 
hastened down, the force of their momentimi 
increased with each step of the descent — they 
were borne on the smooth icy surface swiftly 
past the object of pursuit — and were precipi- 
tated into a yawning crevasse. Such is the 
declension of the soul, uutU it passes 

" Down into the eternal dark ; 
Yet not for rest, nor sleep." — Boriar. 
125 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Sin-Proneness! Ver. 1. The most lovely- 
infant that is ushered into being has within it 
by nature the germs of those elements which 
feed the flames of hell, and leaven its forlorn 
inmates with their direst misery. It has in its 
own heart — to borrow the language of Canning 
— the embryo of that Ui^as-tree, which distils 
upon humanity on earth and on humanity in 
heU its death-drops ; and so living are the 
seeds — so congenial is the soil that, unless over- 
borne by the grace of the Holy Spirit and the 
appliances of the Gospel, they will inevitably 
spring up and flourish 

" Till the whole soul it comprehends. 
And all its powers overclouds 
With condemnation's thunder-shrouds." 
— Oriental. 

Evil Association ! Ver. 2. The sons of 
God could not associate with the godless world 
without suffering morally. Sophi-onius, a wise 
teacher, would not suffer even his grown tip 
sons and daughters to associate with those 
whose conduct was not pure and upright. His 
daughter remarked that he must tliink them 
very childish to imagine that they would yield 
to evil when with such companions. The wise 
parent took a dead coal from the hearth, and 
placed it in his daughter's hand, saying : " Do 
not fear, it will not burn you." Yet, though 
it did not scorch, it smirched — not only hands, 
but dress. When Eulalia vexatiously expressed 
her objection to such close contact with coal, 
her father quietly remarked that evil company 
was like coal ; it might not bvirn, but it woidd 
blacken. The company of the vicioiis daughters 
of the ungodly soils the purity of the " childi-en 
of God":— 

" A thousand evil thoughts intnide 
Tumultuous in the breast." — Neivton. 

Convictioii! Ver 3. In times, says Amot, 
when vile men held the high places of the land, 
a roll of drums was employed to drowTi the 
martyr's voice, lest the testimony of truth from 
the scaffold should reach the ears of the people. 
So do men deal with theu- ov.ni consciences and 
seek to put to silence the truth -telling voice of 
the Holy Spirit. But JSIy Spirit shall not 
always strive with man. Thus obstinately re- 
sisted, He wiU withdraw, for 

" Though the Holy Spirit deigns to dwell 
In earthly domes, 'tis not those defiled 
With pride — with fraud — with rapine, or with 
lust." — Jenncr. 

Omniscience ! Ver 5. The thoughts that 
issue from the home of the human\heart — bold 
like robbers in the dark — overleap the fences 
of holiness, suck at will every flower they 
reckon sweet, and return to deposlit their 
gatherings in the owner's ciip. But as'a spec- 
tator watches the movements of a hive oi bees, 
so the eye of the Lord sees all. Thought 
chases thought with lightning rapidity ; still 
His eye sees all— sees that each is only e^il 
without mitigation — that eveiy germ of idei^, 

126 



every incipient embryo of conception, every 
inclination is only evil. 

" Almighty God ! Thy piercing eye 

Strikes through the shades of night ; 
And our most secret actions lie 
AU open to Thy sight." — Watts. 

Sons of God ! Ver. 2. Some were born 
again — and thus a new creation made them 
sons of God. The Holy Spu-it — descending on 
the wings of love, and moving in the almighti- 
ness of His strength — implanted new being in 
the heu-s of life. Death can never generate 
life — skeletons cannot arise — dry leaves cannot 
bloom — extinct ashes cannot brighten into 
flame ; only Omnipotence can turn the serfs of 
sin into the sons of God. 

" Spirit of pm-ity and grace, 
Our weakness see ; 
O make our hearts Thy dwelling-place, 
And worthier Thee." — Auber. 

Holy Spirit! Ver. 3. We sometimes see 
in ancient mansions that portion once devoted 
to divine service laid in ruins, while that which 
was designed for the good cheer of men is 
whole and in complete repair. The soul is in 
a state of miserable decay and dilapidation, 
but the hall of entertainment — i.e., the body — 
is sound and furnished well. The principles 
and affections that belong to the lowest range 
and sphere of our being remain ; but the spirit 
which alone can consecrate and sanctify them 
is gone. Here it is that the Spirit of God 
steps in to strive %vith man — to awaken him to 
a sense of self -ruin — to arouse in him the de- 
sire for self -restoration — and to accomplish 
that miraculous restitution of all good things 
in the moral ruin of the sanctuary of the 
human soul. 

" The Spirit of God 
From heaven descending, dwells in domes of 

clay ; 
In mode far passing human thought, He guides, 
Impiels, instructs." — Hai/. 

Obdviraoy ! Ver. 3. Had the antediluvians 
no outward warning ? They had Noah, the 
preacher of righteousness. Had they no in- 
ward check ? They had the Holy Spirit. 
Scripture is not silent, though the mystery is 
deep. The Spirit strove for a while, and 
ceased. He approached, and then withdrew. 
He came again ; but admission was denied 
Him. His ■sdsits became more rare, and then 
they discontinued altogether. The knocks re- 
mained Avithout answer, and ultimately died 
away. The inward stillness was no more dis- 
turbed. The souls slept on, and dreamed into 
perdition. Each morning in winter, the man 
breaks the ice forming on the lake, and though 
repeated frosts follow, the lake is not frozen 
over. But suffer the ice to form day by day, 
and little by little, the thickness increases, 
until thousands may stand with hammers, and 
strike in vain. These souls had drifted into 
frozen realms, where no gospel ray shone to 
thaw the ice upon them. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



A blotting night of horror deep, 
" That knows no dawn, and knows no sleep." 

— Alger. 

Sin-Issue ! Ver. 5. A mountain stream — 
whose pure and salubrious waters are con- 
tinually polluted by the daily washing and 
cleansing of poisonous minerals — is a just em- 
blem of the flesh. Its desires, imaginations, 
and affections — once pure and holy — are now 
like a corrupt and troubled spring, which is 
always emitting impure water. Salter says 
that the evil nature of fallen creatures is ever 
bursting out into bad and pernicious motions 
and lusts. 

" Till custom takes away the judging sense, 
That to offend, we think it no offence." 

— Smith. 

Sin ! Ver. 6. Man is prone to sin. He is 
like an idle swimmer, that goes carelessly float- 
ing do^vn the stream rather than exert himself 
to smm against the current, and gain the bank. 
He must reach the sea at last ; and when he 
hears the breakers, and sees the foaming crests 
of the waves, he becomes alarmed. But it is 
TOO LATE. The stream is now too strong for 
him — his limbs are benumbed and enervated 
from want of exertion, and, unfitted and unpre- 
pared, he is hurled into the ocean of eternity. 

" Delay not ! Delay not ! the Spirit of gi-ace, 

Long-grieved and resisted, may take His 

sad flight ; 

And leave thee in darkness to finish thy race, 

And sink in the vale of eternity's night." 

— Hastings. 

Sin Growth ! Ver. 8. Dr. Boyd says : 
" I do not know why it is that — by the consti- 
tution of the universe evil has so much more 
power than good to produce its effect, and to 
j)ropagate its nature. One drop of foul will 
pollute a whole cup of fair water ; but one drop 
of pure water has no power to appreciably im- 
prove a cup of impure water. Q'he sons of 
men were more numerous than the sons of 
God, and very soon corrupted them ; and 
Noah, who stood alone was unable to any ap- 
preciable degTee to influence for good the 
abounding e\dl men : — 

" Men with men wrought wickedness — tUl 
crime and craft 
Became to them what virtue once had been, 
Their joy, their nature — their essential life." 

Divine Grace ! Ver. 9. The light of Noah's 
piety was not dim, because the Holy Spirit 
influenced liim. What difference can be de- 
tected between two needles, one of which has 
received an electric shock, whilst the other has 
not ? None until the occasion arises ! and 
yet the one has hidden virtues, of which the 
other has none. The electric shock has ren- 
dered the one needle a magnet, which, duly 
balanced, will enable man to find his way 
across the trackless ocean. Noah had received 
the Holy Spirit, and his pious example — lilce 
the needle — pointed the wanderers in sin to 



God's mercy. But they shut their eyes to the 
pattern : — 

" Which shone, a star amid the storm, 
The harbinger of rest." — Latrohe. 

Preaching! Ver. 11. Like Enoch, Elijah 
and John the Baptist, Noah urged his neigh- 
bours to flee from the coming wrath. But 
they would not hear. If aroused for a moment 
from the sleep of sinful self-sufficiency, they 
soon slumbered. " Fire ! Eire ! " Such was 
the cry in the middle of the night, which 
echoed tlu-ough the quiet streets. A ladder 
was placed against the wall — up its rungs 
sprang a brave young man to arouse a friend 
sleeping in that upper room, where he lay in a 
drunken sleep. To shake him roughly was the 
work of an instant. The sleeping man stirred 
— opened his eyes for a moment — turned on 
his side and closed his eyes in stupid insensi- 
bility, murmuring, " I do not believe it." His 
would-be deliverer had but just time to di-op 
into the fire-escape to save his own life. Noah 
preached, but men would not believe that 
danger and death were near ! 

" O hasten mercy to implore. 

And stay not for the morrow's sun ; 
For fear thy season should be o'er 
Before this evening's stage be run." 

Piety ! Ver. 9. Standing on the sea-shore 
on a calm summer morning or evening, the 
vessels in the far distance appear to be sailing 
in the sky and not on the sea. So doubtless 
did Noah ajjpear to these worldling spectators 
of his age, to be walking in the sky, and not 
on the earth. He was a marked man, secretly 
to be admired, but openly to be avoided. They 
took notice of him that he was unlike them- 
selves, living a life of faith, traversing his 
spiritual way to the glory of God. 

" Saints are indeed oiu: pillar-fii'es, 
Seen as we go ; 
They are that City's shining spires, 
We travel to." — Yaughan. 

Holy ILife ! Ver. 9. On one occasion a 
man made an effort in argument with a friend 
to disprove the existence of anything like 
" motion," whereupon his friend sj^rang up, and 
paced the ground before him. And not more 
completely was his sophistry confuted who 
attempted to disprove the doctrine of motion, 
by his opponent immediately rising and walk- 
ing, than Noah put to silence the foUy and 
ignorance of the Antediluvians. By a walh 
holy and close with God he demonstrated to 
the unbelie\'ing universe of his day that Jeho- 
vah's word is true. In some cases, perhaps, 
evil was checked, but not subdued — enmity 
was shackled, biit not removed — conscience 
was roused, but not enlightened — convictions 
were produced, but no conversions followed. 
Yet who shall say that Noah met not ia. Para- 
dise some whose hearts were changed ere yet 
the waters reached the moimtain tops ? 

127 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



" O friend ! O brother ! not in vain 

Thy life so pure and true, 

The silver dropping of the rain, 

The fall of summer dew." — Whittier. 

The Divine Eye ! Ver. 12. Secher tella 
how Plato has a reference to the fact of the 
King of Lydia being in possession of a ring 
with which — when he turned the head to the 
palm of his hand— he could see every person, 
and yet he himself remain invisible. Though we 
cannot see God while we live, yet He can see 
how we live ; for His eyes are upon the ways 
of man, and He seeth all his goings— both out- 
ward and inward : — 
" Under the siu-face, life in death. 
Slimy tangle and oozy moans. 
Creeping things with watery breath. 

Blackening roots and whitening bones." — 
— Havergal. 

Judgment I Ver. 13. The stroke of judg- 
ment is Hke the lightning flash — u-resistible, 
fatal. It kills— kills in the twinkling of an eye. 
But the clouds from which it leaps are slow 
to gather. As Guthrie says, they thicken by 
degrees. The mustering clouds — the deepening 
gloom — the still and sultry air — the awful 
silence — the big pattering raindrops, all reveal 
his danger to the traveller, and warn him to 
hasten to the nearest shelter. Ahab was busily 
employed picnicing with his gay court on the 
grassy slopes of Carmel, and did not see the 
gathering storm ; but the prophet sent him 
warning to hurry to his ivory palace in the 
plain of Jezreel. And where is the sinner who 
goes down unwarned ? An unseen hand often 
restrains with gentle touch — a voice within 
often persuasively reminds that ruin follows 
sin. The annals of the old world prove this. 
Truth announced that the inevitable end would 
come, but forbearance checked the final step 
for 120 years. The long-suffering of God 
■waited in the days of Noah : — 
" Mustering His wrath, while His anger stayed: 

TiU fuU their cup, the Lord of heaven delayed 

To pom" His vengeance." — Rolls. 

Delug-e-traditions ! Ver. 13. Mr. CatUn 
vouches for the extraordinary fact that, of aU 
the tribes he visited among the Indians of 
North-West America, there was not one which 
did not, by some means or other, connect their 
origin with a " big canoe," which was supposed 
to have rested on the summit of some hill or 
mountain in their neighbourhood : — 

" High on the summit of this dubious cliff 
Deucalion wafting moor'd his little skiff." — 
— Dryden. 

Salvation! Ver. 13. When Noah heard 
the announcement of the flood of waters pos- 
sibly the enquiry instantaneously flashed up ; 
what must I do to be saved ? As in the case 
of the anxious soul, so in the case of Noah, 
it was an enquiry which only God could answer. 
Just as the child, gathering pebbles on the sea 
shore, sinks into insignificance when compared 
with the diver searchiag for pearls, or the 

128 



miner excavating for diamonds ; so all Noah's 
previous and present surroundings dwindled 
into nothingness before this important question: 
If such an overwhelming, universal deluge was 
ahead, what was he to do for salvation from it ? 
God answered, as He always does the really 
sincere, anxious enquirer : I will save thee. 
Salvation is of the Lord. There is the divinely 
appointed ark of safety. Faith says : — 

" Let earth and hell conspire their worst, their 
best. 
And join their twisted might ! 
Let showers of thunderbolts dart round and 
round me. 
All this shall ne'er confound me." — Quarles^ 

Divine Salvation I Ver. 14. Some time 
ago, a man, who had heard a minister of the 
Gospel preach on the previous sabbath, went 
to him in a state of mental anxiety to ask him 
how he could be saved. The venerable man 
of God said : " The wages of sin is death," 
whereupon the man exclaimed : " Then I am 
lost." To this exclamation of bitter anguish, 
the minister answered that such a conclusion 
did not follow, because God had found a ransom. 
" In His infinite love and pity, He devised a 
plan to save sinners, a plan, which should shew 
His eternal hatred of sin, while it disclosed the 
treasures of His compassion for sinners." He 
then went on to detail the whole scheme of 
salvation,, the Divinely prepared ark of safety 
in the cleft body of His dear Son of Calvary. 
The man was delighted and astonished. He 
exclaimed : "Is it really so ? Is there an ark 
of safety ? " The minister at once briefly 
replied that it was in the Bible. " Then the 
Bible is from God ; for none but He could 
have thought it." 

Spritual Vision ! Ver. 15. As weU may 
you pour tones of delicious music on the ears 
of the deaf, or floods of brilliant light on the 
eyeballs of the blind, expecting to awaken 
corresponding sympathy in the soul, as that the 
carnal mind can be convinced of the excellence 
and beauty of the Ark of Grace. The supreme 
excellence and perfect harmony which pervade 
its entire structure without and within, can 
only be discerned by a spiritual eye, others see 
no beaiity in this ark ; though Noah did. He 
could perceive the beauty of the Divine purpose. 
He could distinguish the harmony of the Divine 
plan. And this heart to prize the ark, this 
mind to investigate its natm-e, this eye to trace 
its proportions and beauties came from God. 

" Oh ! take the heart I could not give, 
Without Thy strength-bestowing call ; 
In Thee, and for Thee, let me live 
For I am nothing, Thou art all." 

Gospel! Ver. 15. On one occasion in 
France, a group of Sunday-school children 
were taken a long distance to see the interior 
of a cathedral, in which was a stained glass 
window of exquisite beauty and chasteness. 
As they drew near, the conductor exclaimed : 
" There is the window," pointing as he did so 
to what seemed a dingy sheet scarred with 



HOMJLETia COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



CHAP. VI, 



in-egular pieces of dull lead. The children 
were disapjjointed, and complained of having 
been brought so far for " only that." But the 
leader guided them within the precincts of the 
cathech-al pile, when they at once saw all the 
beauty of design and structure. So the Holy 
Spirit leads us to the Gospel of Salvation ; but 
we see nothing attractive in it, until He con- 
ducts us within its walls. Then the whole 
flood of beauty bursts upon our entranced 
spii'its ; and, like Peter in the Mount of Trans- 
figuration, we are ready to exclaim : "It is 
good for us to be hei-e : " — 

" Seeing Him in all His beauty, 
Satisfied with Him alone." — Havergal. 

Blindness! Ver. 16. The mind — divinely 
illuminated — can penetrate into the vast do- 
main of faith, and discover the glories there 
revealed. But without the Spirit all is dark — 
all mysterioxis. And just what the telescope is 
to the eye of the astronomer, as when with a 
glance he sweeps the firmament of nature in 
search of new and undiscovered worlds, faith 
is the Spirit of G-od to man. Man cannot find 
out God by all his searching ; but the Spirit 
revealeth the deep things of God. The Ark 
of Christ is equally beyond human comprehen- 
sion. What beams can its feeble, fiickering 
light cast upon tliis mystery ? But the Spirit 
must 

" Enable with perpetual light 
The dulness of our blinded sight." 

1662.— 

Gospel- Ark 1 Ver. 16. Wliat has wroxight 
such moral revolutions in the world ? If the 
devotee of superstition has been converted by 
it — if it has made the spii"itually blind to see — 
if it has transformed the ravening wolf into 
the gentle lamb, and the greedy vidtvire into 
the soft dove — if it has soothed the deepest 
anguish of the heart, and calmed the fierce 
tempest of the soul— if it has sweetened the 
bitterest calamities of life, and unfurled the 
banner of victory in the last and latest hour 
of life — if it has shed upon the Christian's 
tomb the radiance of a glorious immortality, 
then it has done what no other schemes have 
succeeded in doing — then it is the Ai-k of God, 
to which we may safely flee. Till another 
Gospel has been discovered of more grace and 
goodness — of more power and principle — of 
more promise and perfection, let us not despise 
it. Let us make or find a better, safer Ark — 
not cavU at the Ark which Divine Wisdom has 
planned and Divine Love has provided : — 

" Not to be thought on, but ^vith tides of joy, 
Not to be mentioned, but with shouts of 
praise." 

Ark! Ver. 14. Christ is the Gospel- Ark. 
Behold Him ! The ark of old was but an em- 
blem of His full redemption. He is the one 
deliverance from all peril. He is the heaven- 
high refuge — the all-protecting safety. He is 
the building of enduring life— the foundation 
of which was laid in the counsels of eternity 





— the superstructure of which was reared in 
the fulness of time on the plains of eai-th, and 
the head of which towers above the skies. He 
is that lofty fabric of shelter which God de- 
creed, appointed, provided, and set before the 
sons of men ; and all the raging storms of ven- 
geance, and all the fury of the waves of wrath 
only consolidate its strength. Our Ark of 
Salvation is the Mighty God. 

" Onward then, and fear not, 

Children of the Day ! 
For His word shall never, 

Never pass away ! " 

Activity ! Ver. 1 7. Doubtless the Ante- 
diluvians were useful in aiding righteous Noah 
to construct the ark for the saving of his house, 
while they themselves perished in the flood — 
clinging, perchance, to the sides, or clutching 
the keel of the vessel as it floated serenely on 
its way. The scaffolding, says one, is useful 
in the erection of the building ; but, consti- 
tuting no essential part of the structure, it is 
removed when the edifice is complete. Keli- 
gious activity is not salvation. Working for 
Jesus is not necessarily living in Jesus. An 
individual engaged in religious work may be 
useful in guiding the steps of others, as the 
finger-post planted midway betv%reen two di- 
verging roads may direct correctly the doubt- 
ful steps of the traveller, itself remaining 
stationary. Noah's neighbours helped him to 
fu.lfil God's command — aided him in securing 
salvation ; yet they never kept God's statutes 
themselves, and never succeeded in escaping 
from the Deluge. 

" In vain the tallest sons of pride 

Fled from the close pursuing wave.' 

Flood of Waters ! Ver. 17. Mythology 
tells how Jupiter burned with anger at the 
wickedness of the iron age. Having summoned 
a council of the gods, he addressed them — 
setting forth the awful condition of the tilings 
upon the earth, and announcing his determina- 
tion to destroy all its inhabitants. He took a 
thunderbolt, and was about to launch it upon 
the world, to destroy it by fire, when he be- 
thought himself that it might enkindle the 
heavens also. He then resolved to drown it 
by making the clouds pour out torrents of 
rain : — 

" With his clench'd fist 
He squeezed the clouds : 
Then, with his mace, the monarch struck the 

ground ; 
With inward trembling earth received the 

wound, 
And rising streams a ready passage found." — 

Odd. 

Wilful Blindness ! Ver. 22. Hosea says : 
Gray hairs are here and there upon him, yefc 
he knoweth it not. Old age steals on, and we 
are insensible of its encroachment. The hair 
is silvered — the eye loses its lustre — the limbs 
lack elasticity ; and yet we take no thought of 
time. He knoweth it not. Nor does he desire 

129 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



to know it. Some individuals would efface 
each new mark of growing years, and shrink 
from every sad memento of approaching senility 
— as if ignorance of the fact would arrest the 
march of time, and each evidence of its ravages 
obliterated would win back the springtide of 
youth. These men loved not Noah for re- 
minding them of their gradual declension in 
moral vigour, and of the rapidly approaching 
hour when moral death in aggravated form 
would close this decay. And when they saw 
him busily employed in preparing the ark, how 
much ridicule they heaped upon this "obedient 
servant of God," until 

"The clouds went floating on their fatal way." 

— Proctei'. 



Bible! Ver. 22. There was a sculptor 
once who made a famous shield, and among 
the flowers and scrolls which adorned it he 
engraved his own name, so that whoever 
looked upon the shield would be sure to see it, 



and know who made it. Some people tried to 
erase the name, but they found that the man 
had put in the letters so cleverly as to render 
it impossible to take out one letter without 
spoiling the Avhole shield. Just so is it with 
the Bible and the name " Jesus." Hence that 
aged ambassador's counsel to his younger 
brother was full of potency and truth : There 
are hundreds of roads to our great English 
metropolis, so that no matter what point of the 
compass you start from, you will find that all 
bring you to London ; and there are hundreds 
of truths in the Bible, and no matter what 
part of that holy book you take xip, it ought to 
lead you to Christ. But as there are side-roads, 
and what John Bunyan calls "bye-paths," so 
take care that you do not as a preacher wander 
from the road of truth, otherwise your sermon 
will never reach to the " Crucified One " — 

" Who still for erring, guilty man, 
A Saviour's pity shows ; 
While still His bleeding heart is touched 
With memory of our woes." — Barbauld. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Critical Notes. — 1. Righteous.] The radical notion of this important word in Hebrew is, 
by Gesenius and Davies, affirmed to be that of " straightness," the quaUty of going evenly and 
directly to the end aimed at ; but, by Fiirst, is taken to be " firmness, hardness, hence strength, 
victoriousness." Either conception is interesting, and well fitted to give food for i-eflection. It 
is, perhaps, still more significant that Fiirst regards the adjective tzad-diq as derived fi-om the 
PlEL conjugation of tza-dhaq viz. tzid-diq, which signifies " to justify, make appear.just, declare 
just ;" and, hence, gives to the adjective something of the same forensic force, " jiastified." The 
evangelical importance of this can scarcely be overstated. And there are other critical and 
general reasons which may be brought forward in support of this account of the formation of 
the word tzaddiq. 1.) The use of the "verb of becoming" (ha-yah) in ch. vi. 9, should be noticed : 
" Noah had become a righteous and complete man." He had become so — how 1 2) The \\Titer 
to the Hebrews (ch. xi. 7) says that Noah " became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." 
Plainly then Noah was justified by faith. From this point of view we can welcome the com- 
ment of Murphy : " To be just is to be right in point of law, and thereby entitled to all the 
blessings of the acquitted and justified. Wlien applied to the giiilty, this epithet implies pardon 
of sin, among other benefits of grace. It also presupposes that spiritual change by which the 
soul returns from estrangement to reconciliation with God. Hence Noah is not only just but 
perfect:" — perhaps we might more exactly say, " complete," " ready." He was ready for the 
future, ready for the flood ; it was meet that he should escape the flood, and become the pro- 
genitor of a new world. From this point of view, we can apprize the dicta of those who pre- 
sume to attempt to set the Bible against itself by affirming that this story of Noah knows 
nothing of a fall ! — U. Great deep.] "The great abyss — the mighty roaring deep :" Heb. fhoni 
— same word as in Gen. i. 2, Prov. viii. 24, &c. : Sept. and Vulg. "abyss." Broken up.]-— Or, 
" burst open. — Windows.] Prop. " the latticed, enclosed ; hence gen. window, flood-gate ;" but 
Sept. " waterfalls." — 16. Shut him in.] Lit. " Then does Jehovah shut up round about him." 
How touchingly beautiful ! " Then" — a closing act, as when a mother closes up about her dear 
ones for the night: "Jehovah," — the God of covenant grace, the Becoming One, ever becoming 
some further and something fresh to those who trust in him. It is He who performs this grace- 
ful and gracious act. 



130 



HO MI LET 10 COMMENTARY : GENESIS. chap. vir. 



MAIN HOMILETIOS OF THE PARAGRAPH— Verses 1—10. 

The Ark Completed ; or, the Termination" of definite Moral Service. 

The ark was now finished, and Noah was commanded to enter it. Unless the 
good man liad obeyed the Divine call and gone with his family into the ark, all 
his labour would have been in vain, he would have perished in the deluge. 
Christian service makes many demands, and to fail in one, is often to fail in 
all, it needs great fidelity and care from the time the first board of the ark is 
placed, till the last nail is struck, and the door is shut by heaven. It is not 
enough for man's salvation that provision is made for it, he must, by practical 
and personal effort, avail himself of it, or he will perish within its reach. The 
completion of the ark was : — 

I. The termination of an arduous work. Now for nearly one hundred and 
twenty years, Noah had been engaged in building this wondrous floating chest 
in which he and his family were to be sheltered during the impending deluge : — 
1. This termination icould he a relief to his physical energies. There can be 
little doubt that the building of this ark was a great tax upon the physical 
energy of Noah, it would involve the putting forth of every muscular activity 
within him, and day by day he would go home wearied with his toil. And this 
had been repeated day by day for over a century of time. Surely then the end 
of the enterprise would be gladly welcomed by him as a relief from such 
constant and arduous labour. And frequently the service of God requires great 
physical energy on the part of those to whom it is entrusted, it often requires a 
strong body as well as a strong soul to do the work of God efficiently, and 
hence its triumphant finish is welcome to the tired manhood. For the 
divinity of the service is no guarantee against the fatigue experienced in 
the lowest realm of work. The activities of men weary in spiritual service as 
in the most material duties of life. Moral service has a material side, for 
though it requires faith in God as a primary condition, it also requires the 
building of the ark, and it is here that fatigue overtakes the good man. _ This 
is a necessary consequence of our mortal circvimstances, and in heaven will be 
superseded by an endurance which shall never tire. 2. This termination ivoulcl 
be a relief to his mental anxieties. Truly the building of the ark in such times, 
under such conditions, and with the thoughts which must have been supremely 
potent within the mind of Noah, would be a great mental anxiety to him. He 
would not contemplate the mere building of the ark in itself, but in its relation 
to the world which was shortly to be destroyed. The moral condition of those 
around would be a continued pain to him. Then in the building of the ark, 
he would require all his mental energies, so that he might work out the design 
given to him by God, that he might make the best use of his materials, and 
that he might so control those who joined him in his labour that they might 
continue to do so to the end. It would be no easy matter to get fellow-helpers 
in so unpopular a task, hence his anxiety to retain those he had. In fact, it is 
impossible for us in these days to estimate the mental anxiety through which 
this good man passed during these years of extraordinary service ; hence we 
can imagine the completion of the ark would be a welcome relief _ The service 
of the Cliristian life does involve much anxiety as to the rectitude of the 
conscience, and the bearing of its issue upon our eternal destiny, and _ especially 
when it is connected with the retributions of God, Its completion in heaven 

131 



CHAP. VII. IIOMILETW COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



will be a glad relief to tlie anxious soul. 3. Its termination ivould inspire a 
sad hut lioly pride ivithin his heart. When Noali saw the ark completed before 
him in its rude strength, we can imagine that a feeling of sacred pride would 
arise within his heart, but soon would sorrow mingle with it as he thought of 
the doom so near at hand, which would sweep the unholy multitudes, and, 
amongst them, some of his own relatives, into a watery grave. And so Christian 
service often reviews its work, its calm faith, its patient enei-gy, and its palpable 
result, with sacred joy, but when it is associated with the judgments of heaven 
upon the ungodly, the joy merges into grief and prayer. The best moral 
workman cannot stand unmoved by his ark, when he contemplates the deluge 
soon to overtake the degenerate crowds aroimd, whom he would fain persuade 
to participate in the refuge he has built. Thus we see that the completion of 
service is the end of arduous work, and is succeeded by the rest of the ark. But 
this rest is only comparative and temporary. Providence never allows a great 
soul to be long idle. There is too much in the world for it to do, and there are 
but few to do it. There is only one Noah in a crowd. 

II. The indication of abounding mercy. " For yet seven days, and I will 
cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, &c., (v. 4). Here 
we find that God did not send the flood upon the ancient and degenerate world 
immediately the ark was built, but gave seven days interval between the com- 
pletion of the ark and the outpouring of the final and terrible doom ; in this 
we see a beautiful and winning pattern of the Divine mercy. The sinners of 
the age had already had one hundred and twenty years' warning, and had taken 
no heed of it, yet God lingers over them with tender compassion, as though He 
would rather their salvation even yet. Even now they might have entered the 
ark had any been so disi^osed; Thus the completion of the ark was made the 
occasion of a sublime manifestation of the compassion of God toward the sinner. 
And so the moral service of the good, when retributive in its character, is 
generally the time when Divine mercy auakes its last appeal to those who are 
on the verge of the second death. 1. This indication of mercy was unique. 
Its occasion was unique. Neither before or since has the world been threatened 
with a like calamity. And the compassion itself was alone in its beauty and 
meaning. 2. This indication of mercy ivas pathetic. 3. This indication of 
mercy ivas rejected. The people regarded not the completion of the ark, they 
heeded not the mercy which would have saved them at the eleventh hour. 

III. The signal for a wondrous phenomenon. — "Of clean beasts, and of 
beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of everything that creepeth upon 
the earth, there went in two and two unto Noah into the ark." (Vs. 8, 9). 
Soon upon the completion of the ark, the animals which are to be preserved 
from the rayages of the deluge, are guided by an unseen but Divine hand, to 
the ark. A pow'erful and similar instinct takes possession of all, and guides them 
to the scene of their intended safety. Some critics are unable to account for 
this strange phenomenon, they are at a loss to comprehend how animals of 
varied dispositions and habits should thus be brought together. This was the 
design of God, and was no doubt accomplished by His power. And so the 
completion of christian service is often followed by the most wondrous and 
inexplicable events, strange to men, understood by the good, arranged by God. 
Who can predict the mysterious phenomena which shall follow the completion 
of all the christian service of life ; then the elements will melt with fervent heat, 
and the rocks will cover the world in their ruins ! 

IV. The Prophecy of an important future. — The completion of the ark, and 
the entrance of Noah and his family into it, is a prophecy of important things 
to come, when the ark of the world's salvation shall be finished, when the 
last soul shall have entered, and when eternity shall take the place of time. 

132 



HOMILETIG COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. VII. 



Then Christ shall yield up the tokens of His mediatorial office to the Father of 
the universe, tlie good shall enter into their eternal safety, and the threatened 
retribution shall come upon the wicked. Lessons : 1. Let the good antic'qyate 
the time tvhen all the fatigue and anxiety of moral service shall be at an end. 
2. Let them contemplate the joy of successful seocice for God. 3. Let them enter 
into all the meaning and phenomena of christian service. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



God's Invitation to the Families 
OF THE Good. 

Verse 1. I. That the families of the 
.good are exposed to moral danger. 

They live in a degenerate world which 
is tlireatened by the retributions of 
God ; they are surrounded, in all the 
enterprises and relations of life, by 
unholy companions ; they are charmed 
by the pleasures of the world ; they 
are tempted by the things they see, and 
their moral welfare is imperilled bytbe 
tumult of unhappy circumstances. 
Especially are the young members of 
the families of the good exposed to 
moral danger, through the vile pvib- 
lications of the press, the corrup- 
tions of the age, and through the 
passionate impulses of their own 
hearts. 1. This danger is immimnt. 
2. It is alarming. 3. It should he 
fully recognised. 4. It should he pro- 
vided against. God sees the perils to 
which the families of the good are 
exposed through the conditions of their 
earthly life and temporal circum- 
stances. 

II. That the families of the good 
are invited to moral safety. 1. They 
are invited to this safety after their 
own effort, in harmony tcith the Divine 
pujpose concerning them. Noah and his 
family had built the ark of safety they 
were invited to enter. They were not 
indolent in their desire to be saved from 
the coming storm. And so, there is a 
part which all pious families must 
take, a plan with which they must 
co-operate before they have any right 
to anticipate the Divine help. The 
parent who does not, by all the means 
in his power, seek the moral safety of 
his children, by judicious oversight, 
and by prayerful instruction, cannot 



expect God to open a door into any 
ark of safety for them. He can only 
expect that they will be amongst the 
lost in the coming deluge. 1. The 
purpose concerning them was Divine in 
authority. 2. It tvas merciful in its 
intention. 3. It was sufficient to its 
design. This purpose of salvation 
toward Noah and his family was from 
heaven ; men can only keep their families 
from the evil of the world as they are 
Divinely instructed. It was full of 
mercy to tlie entire family circle, and 
exhibited the wonderous providence of 
God in His care for the families of the 
good. 

III. That the families of the good 
should be immediate in their response 
to the Divine regard for their safety. 
How often do we see amongst the 
children of the best parents an utter 
disregard of all religious claims ; it may 
be that the parents have not sought 
to turn the feet of their children 
toward the ark. 

The House in the Ark. 

I. An exhibition of Divine care. 

It was entirely an exhibition of Divine 
care that the ark was built and in 
readiness for this terrible emergency, 
as Noah would never have built it 
but for the command of God. So 
when we see a whole family walking in 
the. paths, and enjoying the moral 
safety, of religion we cannot but be- 
hold and admire the manifold mercy 
and care of God. 

II. A manifestation of parental 
love. Parents sometimes say that they 
love their children, and certainly they 
strive to surrouncl them with all the 
temporal comforts of life, and yet 
neglect their eternal welfare. How 

133 



HO M I LET I C COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



is sucK neglect compatible with 
real love ? A parent whose love for 
his children is true and worthy, will 
manifest it by a supreme effort to 
awaken within them desires and 
thoughts after God and purity. 

III. The ideal and joy of domestic 
life. When the entire family and 
household is in the ark of moral safety, 
then domestic life reaches its highest 
dignity, its truest beauty, and its 
fullest joy. Is your house in the 
ark? 

Teue Moral Rectitude. 

" Fm' thee have I seen righteous he- 
fore me in this generation." 

I. True moral rectitude maintained 
in degenerate times. Noah had re- 
tained his integTity of soul when the 
world beside him was impure. A pure 
soul can maintain its integrity against 
the multitude who go to do evil. 
Sinful comijanions and degenerate 
times are no excuse for faltering moral 
goodness. The goodness of Noah was 
(1) Real. (2) Unique. (3) Stahvarf. 

II. True moral rectitude observed by- 
God. 1. It is personally observed by 
God. "For thee have I seen righteous 
before me." Though the Divine Being 
has the vast concerns of the great uni- 
verse to watch over, yet He has the 
disposition and the time to observe 
solitary moral goodness, (jod's eye is 
always upon the good, to mark the 
bright unfolding of their daily life. 
2. It was observed by God in its rela- 
tion to the age in which the good man 
lived. " In this generation." ^ The 
darkness of the age enhanced the lustre 
of Noah's rectitude. Every good man's 
life bears a certain relation to the age 
and community in which its lot has fal- 
len. No man liveth unto himself. We 
should serve our generation by the 
will of God. 

III. True moral rectitude rewarded 
by God. 1. Rewarded by distinct 
commendation. God calls Noah a 
righteous man. And to be designated 

134 



such by the infallible Judge were cer- 
tainly the greatest honour for the 
human soul. 2. Reivarded by do- 
mestic safety. The moral rectitude of 
the good exerts a saving and protec- 
tive influence on all their domestic rela- 
tionships. It environs the home with 
the love of heaven. Are you a right- 
eous man, not before men, but in the 
sight of God ? 

1. God speaks to the good. 2. About 
their families. 3. About their security. 

A righteous man : — 1. A pattern. 

2. A possibility. 3. A prophecy. 4. A 
benediction. 

A righteous man : — 1. Heaven's re- 
presentative. 2. The world's hero. 

3. The safety of home. 

The call itself is very kind, like that 
of a tender father to his children, to 
come in-doors when he sees night or a 
storm coming, come thou, and all thy 
house, that small family which thou 
hast, into the ark. Observe Noah did 
not go into the ark till God bade him ; 
though he knew it was designed for his 
place of refuge, yet he waited for a 
renewed command, and had it. It is 
very comfortable to follow the calls of 
Providence, and to see God going 
before us in every step we take. — 
(Henry and, Scott.) 

Commands for duty Jehovah giveth, 
that His servants may see the per- 
formance of His promise. 

The use of means must be, as well 
as having means, in order to salvation. 

All souls appointed to salvation must 
enter the ark. 

Providence of grace maketh souls 
righteous by looking on them. It 
giveth what it seeth. 

That is righteousness indeed which 
standeth before God's face. 

Verses 2, 3. It is God's prerogative 
only to judge creatures clean or un- 
clean. 
V The distinction of clean and unclean 
.among creatures is from special use, not 
firom nature. 

^ Clean and unclean creatures have 
thv.eir preservation from the word of 
Goa. 

TKse certain number of creatures is 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. VII. 



given by God in tlie preservation of 
them. 

God's aim is in seven to two, that 
he would have cleanness outgrow un- 
cleauness. 

Beasts and fowls of heaven are God's 
care, to keep them for man. 

This is plainly not the first appoint- 
ment of a difference between clean and 
unclean beasts. The distinction is 
spoken of as, before this time, fami- 
liarly known and recognized. And 
what was the gTonnd of this distinc- 
tion ? It could not certainly be any- 
thing in the nature of the beasts them- 
selves, for we now regard them all in- 
discriminately as on the same footing, 
and we have undoubted Divine war- 
rant for doing so. Nor could it be 
anything in their comparative fitness 
for being used as food, for animal food 
was not yet allowed. The distinction 
could have respect only to the rite of 
sacrifice. Hence arises another irre- 
sistible argument for the Divine origin 
and the Divine authority of that rite, 
and a proof also of the substantial 
identity of the patriarchal and the 
Mosaic institutions. The same stand- 
ing ordinance of animal sacrifice — and 
the same separation of certain classes 
of animals from others as alone being 
clean and proper for that purpose — 
prevailed in both. The religion, in 
fact, in its faith and in its worship was 
exactly the same. In the present in- 
stance, in the order given to save so 
many of these clean beasts, there may 
have been regard had to the liberty 
which was to be granted to man after 
the flood to use them for food, as well 
as to the necessity of their being a 
supply of sacrifices. And in general, 
the clean beasts, and especially the fowls, 
were those which it was most import- 
ant for the speedy replenishing and 
quickening of the earth, to keep alive 
in the greatest numbers. — {Dr. Cand- 
lish.) 

Natural propagation by sexes is the 
ordinance of God. 

God giveth the quickening power to 
all creatures on the earth. 

God warns in season whom he means 
to save. 



The Divine Threat of Destruction. 

Verse 4. I. Very so on to be executed. 

" For yet seven days," etc. The 
deluge, which had been predicted for 
nearly one hundred and twenty years, 
was near at hand. The immediate 
preparations were being completed. 
God's threats of judgment upon the 
sin of man are frequent, and repeated 
at important intervals. In one brief 
period the Avorld would become silent 
as the tomb. Yet there was time for 
safety. 

II. Very merciful in its commence- 
ment. " I will cause it to rain upon 
the earth." Thus the fountains of the 
great deep were not to be broken up at 
the onset, there was to be a progress 
in the impending doom. The judg- 
ments of God are gradual in their 
severity. Even during the continu- 
ance of the rain there would be time to 
repent. How men reject the mercy 
of God. 

III. Very terrible in its destruc- 
tion. "And every living substance 
that I have made will I destroy from 
off the face of the earth." 1. The 
destruction icas defer?ni7ied. 2. The 
destruction was universal. 3. The des- 
truction tvas piteous. If we could 
have surveyed the universal ruin, how 
forcibly should we have seen the retri- 
butive providence of God and the 
fearful destiny of sin. 

IV. Very significant in its indica- 
tion. Men appeal to the Fatherhood 
of God as a reason why the wicked 
should not meet with continued punish- 
ment in the future ; what do they say 
about the punishment which was in- 
flicted upon the world in olden times ? 
Men might have argued that such a 
destruction would be repugnant to the 
Divine Fatherhood. Yet it occurred. 
And what if the continued punish- 
ment of the finally impenitent should 
ultimately prove to be a fact ? 

The Obedience of Noah to the 

Commands of God. 
Verse 5. I. It was obedience ren- 
dered under the most trying circum- 
stances. Noah was now on the thresh- 

135 



CHAP. VII. 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



hold of the doom threatened upon the 
degenerate world. He knew it. God 
had told him. The good man's heart 
was sad. He was full of wonder in 
reference to what would be his future 
exi^eriences. He had not succeeded as 
a preacher. He had no converts to 
sliare the safety of his ark. But these 
sentiments of grief and wonder did 
not interrui^t his loj^al obedience to 
the commands of God. His earnest 
labours gave him little time to indulge 
the feelings of his heart. He walked 
by faith and not by feeling or sight. 

II. It was obedience rendered in 
the most arduous work. It was no 
easy task in which Noah's obedience 
was remarkable. His was not merely 
the obedience of the ordinary Christian 
life ; but it was the obedience of a saint- 
ly hero to a special and Divinely -given 
duty. He had obeyed God in build- 
ing the ark ; he had now to obey Him 
in furnishing it for the exigencies of 
the future. His obedience was co- 
extensive with his duty. 

III. It was obedience rendered in 
the most heroic manner. Noah was 
a man capable of long and brave en- 
durance ; the energies of his soul were 
equal to the tasks of heaven. It re- 
quired a brave man to act in these 
circumstances. 

Old Age. 

Verse 6. I. Sublime in its rectitude. 

Noah was now advancing into old age. 
Yet as his physical energy declines, the 
moral fortitude of his nature is increased. 
He was righteous before God. He was 
a pattern to men in wicked times. He 
was an obedient servant of the Eternal. 
The purity, strength, and nobleness of 
his character were brought out by the 
wondrous circumstances in which he 
was called to be the chief actor. 

II. Active in its faith. Noah be- 
lieved God. Believed His word con- 
cerning the threatened doom. He 
relied upon the character and per- 
fections of God. Thus faith was the 
sustaining principle of his energetic 
soul. And but for it his advancing 
age Avould not have been so grand and 
136 



dignified as it was. Faith in God is 
the dignity of the aged. 

III. Eventful in its history. The 
entire life, but especially the advancing 
age of Noah, was eventful. The build- 
ing of the ark. The occurrences of 
the flood. Men sometimes become 
heroes in their old age. The greatest 
events come to them late in life. So 
it was with Noah. 

IV. Eegal in its blessing. Noah 
was blessed with the favour of Heaven, 
with the commendation of God, ancl 
with safety in wondrous times of peril. 
Old age, when obedient to the command 
of God, is sure to be rich in benediction. 
It shall never lack due reward from 
approving heaven. 

Popular Reasons for a Eeligious 
Life. 

Verse 7. " Because of the urders of 
the food." There are many motives 
urging men to seek the safety of their 
souls. 

I. Because religion is commanded. 
Some men are good, because God 
requires moral rectitude from all His 
creatures, they feel it right to be pure. 
They wish to be happy, and thej^ find 
that the truest happiness is the out- 
come of goodness. 

II. Because others are Religious. 

Multitudes are animated by a desire 
to cultivate a good life because their 
comrades do. They enter the ark 
because of the crowds that are seen 
wending their way to its door. 

III. Because religion is a safety. 
We are told that Noah's family went 
into the ark " because of the w'aters of 
the flood." Many only become reli- 
gious when they see the troubles of life 
coming upon them ; they regard piety 
as a refuge from peril. 

Verse 8 — 10. Times of forbearance 
and vengeance are surely and distinctly 
stated by God. 

God's time of patience being expired 
vengeance will come. " 2 hey icent ill 
ftco and tivo" of their own accord by 
divine instinct. Noah was not put to 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



the pains of hunting for them, or fear nothing. The creatures came in 

driving them in. Only he seems to to Noah without his care and cost, 

have been six days in receiving and He had no more to do hut to take 

disposing of them in their several cells, them in and place them \Tra2jp\. 
and fetching in food. When God bids Divine Threatenings : — 1. That they 

us to do this or that, never stand to will surely be executed. 2. At the 

cast perils; but set upon the work, time announced. 3. In the manner pre- 

yield " the obedience of faith," and dieted. 4. With the result indicated 

MAIN IIOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 11—24. 

ThS Deluge ; or, the Judgments of God upon the Sin of Man. 

There are some who regard the deluge as the outcome of the natural workings 
of physical laws, and not as a miraculous visitation of heaven ; they intimate 
that it was the ordinary result of flood and rain, so common in those Eastern 
climes. We think, however, that the supposition is far from being satisfactory, 
and is inadequate to the requirements of the case. It was evidently the result 
of supernatural intervention. Hie ordinary floods and rains of these Eastern 
countries have never exercised such a destructive influence upon the lives of 
men and animals either before or since. It was unique in its_ effects. And 
certainly if it had been the ordinary outcoiue of natural laws, it would have 
been of frequent occurrence. It is true that God sometimes sends his retribu- 
tion through the ordinary workings of nature, thus rebuking and punishing the 
sin of man ; but the deluge is no instance of this method of retribution. 
We are inclined to think that the flood occurred about April ; certainly before 
Autumn. Both the time of its advent, the effect of its working, and the 
purpose of it, mark it as a miracle of heaven. As such Noah would regard it, 
and as such it is full of significant teaching to human souls. 

I. That the chronology of the Divine judgments is important, and should 
be carefully noted and remembered. " In the six hundredth year of Noah's 
life, in the second mouthy the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were 
all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were 
opened." 1. The chronology of hlcine retrihution is important as a record of 
MstorTj. Some men are accustomed to regard historic dates as of very little 
importance, as things only to be learnt by the schoolboy. And certain it is that 
dates are not as important as facts or principles, but they have a significance 
peculiarly their own, and are generally evidences of credibility and certainty. 
We cannot afford to neglect them. History is full of them. They remind us 
of great transactions, of battles won. They are also important in the domestic 
life. They chronicle events both joyous and sad ; the hirth of a child, the 
death of a parent. They are useful in the Church, either to recall days of per- 
secution, acts of heroism, and times of emancipation from the power of evil. 
It is well that the exact dates should be assigned to the judgments of heaven, 
that men may study and remember them, and that their anniversary may be 
hallowed by becoming reverence and prayer. In those primitive times the long 
lives of the greatest men were as calendars for the chronicle of important 
events, they denoted the progress of the world. And it is better to fasten 
history to the life of an individual than to the dead pages of a book, as 
men make the record they chronicle. We ought to be more minute students of 
the histories of God, and of His judgments upon the sin of man, as they relate 
to the inner life of the soul, and record a history no unaided human pen 
could write. 2. The chronology of JJlvine retribution is important as related 
to the moral life and destinies of men. The deluge is not merely a cold record 

137 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



of history, a transcaction of the hoary past, but an event of more than ordinary 
moral meaning. It contains a great lesson for humanity to learn, and ought to 
be the continued study of men. It announces the terrible ruin which sin 
irretrievably works to the life and commerce of countries ; that it destroys a 
multitude of lives, and renders the material universe a desolate watery grave. 
It shows that the judgments of God are determined, and that they are not 
deterred by consequences. How many souls would be hurried into an unwel- 
come eternity of woe by the deluge. Hence the date of such a calamity should 
never be obliterated from the mind of man ; but should be the portal to all the 
great verities of Avhich it is the symbol. 3. The chronology of Divine retribu- 
tion is important, as the incidental parts of Scripture bear a relation to those of 
greater magnitude. We are not to regard the events and parts of Scripture as 
unrelated to each other ; but as blending in one sublime harmony and purpose. 
The blade of grass is related to the tree. The flower is related to the star, and 
we are not to neglect the former because it is not of equal size to the latter. 
We must pay heed to the incidental and lesser portions of sacred history, even 
to its dates, as parts of a great and sacred whole, needful and useful. 

II. That God hath complete control over all the agencies of the material 
universe, and can readily make them subserve the purpose of His will. " The 
same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up." 1. The Divine 
Being can control the latent forces and the unknown possibilities of the universe. 
Man is ignorant of the grand and untoward possibilities of the created world. 
He beholds things, announces their properties, defines their spheres of action, 
proclaims their names, and vainly imagines that he has exhausted their capability. 
Thus he views the sea and the dry land. But the most elementary forms of 
matter are unknown even to the most industrious investigator and to the most 
learned in scientific discovery. Men may WTite books about the wonders of the 
great deep, but their pages are as the mutterings of a child. Science cannot 
tabulate the resources of the earth ; they are only seen by the eye of the 
Creator. They are only responsive to the touch of omnipotence. This con- 
sideration should make men reverent in mood when they speciilate as to the 
future of the material structure in which they now reside. The, as yet, un- 
drilled, yea, almost unknown, legions of the material world are ready at the 
call of heaven to rebuke and punish the misdoing of man. 2. The Divine Being 
can control all the recognized and welcome agencies of the material tmiverse, so 
that they shall be destructive rather than beneficial. The agencies now brought 
into the service of Divine retribution were, in the ordinary method of things, 
life-giving and life-preserving. But immediately upon the behest of God they 
became most destructive in their influence. When Jehovah would reprove the 
sin of man He can easily change His choicest blessings into emissaries of pain 
and grief. He can make the fertilizing waters to overflow their banks and to 
drown the world they were intended to enrich. 3. That the agencies of the 
material universe frequently co-operate with the providence of God. The world 
in which man lives is so arranged that it shall minister to his need, enrich his 
commerce, and delight his soul. It was made for man. But not less was it made 
for God, primarily to be the outlet of His loving heart, but often to manifest 
His repugnance to moral evil. All the forces and agencies of nature are 
arranged on the side of moral rectitude under the command of the Eternal 
King of heaven and earth. They will reward the good. They will punish the 
wicked. They re-echo the voices of inspired truth. The waters of the mighty 
deep catch their rhythm from the truth of God. The Spanish armada was 
defeated by a storm more than by the arms of men. Providence is on the side 
of rectitude and truth. 

III. That the retributive judgments of God are a signal for the good to enter 
upon the safety provided for them. " In the self-same day entered Noah, and 

138 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY : GENESIS. chap. tii. 



Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the 
three wives of his sons with them, into the ark." It was not enough for Noah 
to build an ark for his safety during the coming dehige ; he must also enter it. 
And when the good man saw the rain falling upon the earth, he felt that the 
threatened judgment was near, and that the closing scenes had come upon the 
degenerate multitude. This was the signal for his final entrance into the ark. 
And so when the predicted end of the universe shall come, and all things are 
about to be destroyed by fire, then shall the good enter into the permanent 
enjoyment of the heavenly rest and condition, and the wisdom of their conduct 
will be acknowledged. But in that day men will stand in their own indivi- 
duality, they will not be saved, as were the sons and relatives of Noah, because 
they belong to pious families. There mil be many holy parents in the ark, while 
their wicked sons will be carried away by the great waters. 

IV. ThatinDivinejudgments, the agencies of retribution, which are destructive 
to the wicked, are sometimes effective to the safety and welfare of the good. 
" And the waters increased and bare up the ark, and it was lift up _ above the 
earth." Thus we find that the same waters which were destructive to_ the 
wicked inhabitants of the ancient world, were in harmony with_ the provision 
made by Noah, and so enhanced his safety in these perilous times. And_ so 
it has sometimes occurred that the retributive events of Providence, which 
have been injurious to the sinful, have been a means of benediction to the good. 
The cloud may be a guide to the Israelites, whereas to the Egyptians it may only 
be a great darkness, or a Avild flame. The rod of heaven may smite the evil 
and the good, but to the latter it blossoms and brings forth fruit. 

V. That in the retributive judgments of God wicked men are placed without 
any means of refuse or hope. "And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon 
the earth ; and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven, were 
covered." The degenerate multitudes of that wicked age had no method^ of 
escape in the time of this terrible retribution. They had made no provision 
for the deluge ; they had rejected the warnings of Noah. They might climb 
the tall trees, and ascend the high mountain, but the rising and angTy tide soon 
swept them from their refuge. Men cannot climb above the reach of the 
judgment of God. They can only be saved in the appointed way, according 
to the Divine invitation. Those who despise the ark can be saved in no other 
manner. And so in the judgments which shall come upon the world in its 
last days, then those who have rejected the offers of mercy urged upon them 
by a faithful gospel ministry, will be without hope and without refuge amidst 
the terrible doom. 

VI. That the measure and limits of the retributive judgments of^ God are 
divinely determined. " Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail." " And 
the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." The judgments 
of God are marked and definite as to their duration. They are determined 
beforehand in this respect, and are not left to wild caprice, or uncertain chance. 
The Divine Being determines how high the waters shall rise, and how long 
they shall prevail. He only knows the entire meaning of sin, and therefore 
alone arranges its punishment. God knows the measure of all human sorrow. 
Lessons: 1. That the judgments of heaven are long predicted. 2. That they 
are commonly rejected. 3. That they are ivofidly certain. 4. That they are 
terribly severe. 5. They shoiv the folly of sin. 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 
Verses 11, 12. It is the Spirit's Admirable is God's providence in 
purpose that the Church should keep keeping souls alive between waters 
a true chronology of God's works. above and beneath. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



It is God's word alone to break and 
bind the fountains of the great deep, 
shut and open the windows of heaven. 

At God's word heaven and the deep 
are both ready to destroy sinners. 

"In the second month." In April, as 
it is thought, when everything was in 
its prime and pride ; birds chirping, 
trees sprouting, &c., nothing less looked 
for than a flood ; then God " shot at 
them with an arrow suddenly," (Ps. 
Ixiv. 7), as saith the Psalmist. So 
shall " sudden destruction " (1 Thess. 
V. 3) come upon the wicked at the last 
day, when they least look for it. So 
the sun shone fair upon Sodom the 
same day wherein, ere night, it was 
fearfully consumed. What can be 
more lovely to look on than the corn- 
field a day before harvest, or a vine- 
yard before the vintage ? — {Ti'apij). 

Verses 13 — 15. An important and 
eventful day : — 1 The fulfilment of 
promise. 2. The commencement of 
retribution. 3. The time of personal 
safety. 4. The occasion of family 
blessing. 

Polygamy was not in the church 
saved from the waters. 

Some of all kinds of creatures hath 
God's goodness saved in the common 
deluge. 

The breath of life is in God's hand 
to give or take. 

Tlie animals : — 1. Their number. 
'2. Their order. 3. Their obedience. 

The Door was Shut. 

Ver. 1 6. "And the Lord shut him in," Gen. vii. 
16. Noah could bviild the ark, could preach to 
the people, could bear all manner of scorn and 
contempt, but I conceive, strong man as he 
was, there was one thing he could not do, that 
was to shut the door of the ark against the 
■people who in a few hours would clamoiir for 
admittance. We can readily picture to our- 
selves this great-hearted man as he receives 
the last creature into the ark, looking round 
on the crowd who wondered and scoffed at his 
procedure. There he sees his old workmen, 
young wives leaning on their strong husbands ; 
little children playing wth simple gladness ; 
old men and women leaning on their staffs ; 
perhaps distant relatives and friends. What 
conflict must have raged in his bosom at the 
thought of cutting them off from the only 
means of salvation, from the awfvil and im- 
140 



pending doom which awaited the world. It 
louji too much for Noah to do, so the Lord shut 
him in I Let us meditate on the significance 
of this act. 

I. It teaches us, as God is the author so also 
is he the finisher of our work, God implants 
in the mother's heart the desire to teach her 
children of Himself, but He must apply the 
instruction. Paul may plant and ApoUos 
water, but God must give the increase. The 
seeker after salvation may l^ray, and read the 
word, and attend the means of grace, but God 
only can save the soul. We may speak words 
of comfort to the distressed, the Holy iSpirit 
must convey the message to the heart. 

II. It teaches that they who do His will shall 
not go unrewarded. Noah built the ark, so 
God insures his safety therein. Paul may fear 
lest after doing God's will in preaching to 
others, that he shall be a castaway ; but he 
has no gi-ound for alarm. Paiil was never less 
like himself than when he said those words, or 
rather when he was distressed with that fear. 
The lighteous cannot know the misery of 
i-ejection. Those who put their trust in God 
shall never be confounded. 

III. It teaches that those who do God's will 
are preserved from all dangers. The Lord 
shut him in ! so that he might not perpetrate 
any rash act. Had he possessed the power of 
opening the door, he might have jeopardized 
the safety of the whole family by bringing 
down the vengeance of God. Noah's had been 
a critical position but for this. Think of him 
as he hears the rush of waters ; the shrieks of 
the dro\vning ; the cries of the young and old. 
If you had been in his position, with the 
knowledge you could open the door, and take 
some in, would you not have been tempted to do 
so? But God shut him in, and when He shutteth 
no man can open. So shall God fortify the soul 
at the great day of final judgment. Mothers, 
fathers, children, shall see their relatives cast 
out, and yet be preserved from one rash word, 
or unbeUeving act. 

IV. It teaches that those who do God's will 
must not expect immediate reward. Noah be- 
comes a prisoner— for five months he had no 
communication fi-om God — for tv.'elve months 
he resided in the ark. But God remembered 
Noah and brought him out into a wealthy 
place. 

V. It teaches that the hand which secures the 
saint destroys the sinners. As God shut Noah 
in, insuring his safety. He shut out the world 
to experience the fearful doom of their sin. 
Hereafter the door shall be shut. On which 
side v:ill you he. — [Stems and Twigs.] 

The Divine Commands. 

Verse 16. "As God had com- 
manded him." I. The Divine com- 
mands are severe in their require- 
ments, Noah was required by them to 



HOMILETIG COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



build an ark, whicli would involve him 
in much anxiety and labour. He was 
exposed to the ridicule and fanaticism 
of men in so doing ; for the commands 
of God relate to unseen things and to 
future events, and are not understood 
by the wicked. The commands of 
God often impose a gTeat and con- 
tinuous service, somewhat difficult to 
be performed. They sometimes place 
men in important and critical stations 
of life. 

II. The Divine commands are ex- 
tensive in their requirements. They 
relate not merely to the building of 
the ark as a whole, but to every 
minute detail in the gi'eat structure ; 
and so in the moral life of man, the 
commands of God have reference to 
all the little accidents of daily life. 
They extend to the entire manhood — 
to its every sphere of action. If we 
offend in little, we are verily guilty of 
sad disobedience. 

III. The Divine commands are in- 
fluential to the welfare of man. 

Through obedience to the commands 
of God, Noah was preserved from the 
deluge ; and if men would only obey 
the voice of God in all things, they 
would be shielded from much harm, 
and many perils. Obedience renders 
men safe, safe from the guilt of sin, 
and from the woe of Divine retribu- 
tion. Thus the commands of God, 
though they may involve arduous 
service through many years, and though 
they extend to the entire life of man, 
are nevertheless influential to the tem- 
poral and eternal welfare of obedient 
souls. 

Increased Aefliction. 

Verse 17. "And the waters in- 
creased.'" I. That affliction is pro- 
gressive in its development and 
severity. In the first place the rain 
is sent, then the fountains of the great 
deep are broken up, and then the high 
hills are covered with water. " Deep 
calleth unto deep at the noise of thy 
waterspouts : all thy waves and thy 
billows are gone over me." (Ps. 42 — 7). 
Sorrow does not generally advance 



upon men all at once, its cold wave 
gradually rises and chills their hearts. 
How many souls in the wide world 
could write a mournful comment on 
the gradual increase of human grief. 

II. That increased affliction is the 
continued and effective discipline and 
punishment of God. The waters of 
the deluge were designed to extermi- 
nate the sinful race which had cor- 
rupted the earth, and hence they 
covered the highest mountains, that 
all life should be destroyed. Aug- 
mented affliction is often occasioned 
by sin, and is intended to punish and 
remove it. 

Every word of vengeance must 
exactly be fulfilled which God hath 
spoken. 

God's judgments are gradual on the 
wicked. 

Waters of death to some, are made 
waters of life to others by the word of 
God. 

Verses 19—24. The bounds of 
nature cannot keej) water from destroy- 
ing, when God makes it to overflow. 

Not a word of God falls to the 
ground concerning those whom he ap- 
points to ruin. 

No kind of life can be exempt from 
death, when wickedness giveth up to 
vengeance. 

The times of increasing and per- 
fecting vengeance are determined by 
God. He measures waters and num- 
bers days. 

The almost solitary Preservation 

OF A Good Man from imminent 

and long-continued Peril. 

Verse 23. " And Noah only remained 
alive and they that were toith him in 
the ark." 

I. Then moral goodness is sometimes 
a safeguard from the imminent perils of 
life. The Christian Church is con- 
stantly being reminded that the good 
share the dangers and calamities of the 
wicked, and that the same event hap- 
pens to all irrespective of moral cha- 
racter. But this statement is not 
always true, for even in the circum- 

141 



CHAP. VII. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



stances of this life moral goodness is 
often a guarantee of safety. Heavenly- 
ministries are ever attendant upon the 
good, to keep them in all their ways. 
God often tells good men of the coming 
woe, and also shows them how to es- 
cape it. Purity is wisdom. 

II. Then moral goodness is signally 
honoured and rewarded by God. Of 
all the inhabitants of that ancient and 
degenerate world, many of them illus- 
trious and socially great, only Noah 
and his relatives were saved from the 
destructive deluge. In this we see the 
true honour which God puts upon the 
good, as well as the safety by which He 
environs them. It is honourable to be 
morally upright. 



Ill, Then moral goodness may some- 
times bring a man into the most un- 
usual and exceptional circumstances. 

It may make a man lonely in his. occu- 
pation and life-mission, even though he 
be surrounded by a crowded world ; it 
may make him unique in his character, 
and it may render him solitary in his 
preservation and safety. Noah was 
almost alone in the ark ; he would be 
almost alone in his occupation of the 
new earth on which he would soon 
tread. And thus goodness often makes 
men sublimely unique in their cir- 
cumstances. It requires a brave heart 
to be equal to the requirements of 
such a position. 



ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER VII. 

BY THE 

KEV. WM. ADAMSON. 



Submission! Ver. 1. Oaks may fall 
when reeds brave the wind. These giants 
fought the winds of Divine Judgment and fell ; 
while Noah — like the benduig reed so slight 
and frail — escaped the storm : — 
" And every wrong and every woe, when put 
beneath our feet, 
As stepping-stones may help us on to His 
liigh mercy-seat. 

Earnestness! Ver. 1. Robert Hall, in 
his Village Dialogues, refers to a Mr. Merri- 
man, a preacher, who used to be seen at every 
fair and revel, but was seldom to be found in 
the pulpit. When he was converted he began 
to preach with tears running down his cheeks. 
He could not contemplate unmoved the pitiable 
condition of many of his hearers — unprepared 
to die. Fleming mentions one John Welsh, 
who was often found on the coldest winter 
nights weeping on the ground, and wi-estling 
with the Lord on account of his people. Wlien 
his wife pressed him for an explanation of his 
distress, he said : " I have the souls of three 
thousand to answer for ; while I know not how 
it is \vith many of them." No doubt Noah 
had his thousands, over whom he wept — with 
whom he pleaded — for whom he prayed, that 
they might be persuaded to participate in the 
Refuge- Ark. 

" He spread before them, and with gentlest 
tone, 
Did urge them to the shelter of that ark 
Which rides the wi-athful deluge." — 

Sigourney. 

Antediluvians ! "Ver. 4. These men were 
very anxious about the body, but troubled them- 
selves but little about the soul. How foolish 
142 



for a man, who has received a richly-carved 
and precious statue from abroad, to be very 
much concerned about the case in which 
it was packed, and to leave the statue to roll 
out into the gutter. Every man has had com- 
mitted to him a statue moulded by the most 
ancient of sculptors— God. What folly then 
for him to be solicitous about the case in which 
God has packed it — I mean the body, and to 
leave the soul to roll into the mire of sin and 
death? Is it ■wise, 

"Or right,]or safe, for some chance gains to-day. 
To dare the vengeance from to-morrow's skies 2 " 

Gospel-Iiight ! Ver. 6. This thrilling 
event loses well-nigh aU its interest for us 
apart from Christ. He is in this incident as 
the sunlight in the else-darkened chamber ; 
and this incident is in Him bright as the cold 
green log, which is cast into the flaming fur- 
nace, glows through and through ■with ruddy 
and transforming heat : — 

" And it will live and shine when all beside 
Has perished in the wreck of earthly thmgs." 

Parental Piety! Ver. 7. Among those 
who rose for prayers one night at a school- 
house meeting were three adult children of an 
aged father. The old man's heart was deeply 
moved as he saw them rise. He was now to 
reap the fruit of all his years of sowing pi-in- 
ciples of piety in their youthful minds. When 
he rose to speak, the room was silent, and many 
cheeks wet with tears. With a fuU heart and 
tremulous voice the aged father once more 
urged his offspring, with a simple earnestness 
that thrilled every heart, to give their heai'ts 
to the Lord And as they rode home at night 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTABY: GENESIS. 



along the praii-ie slopes in tlie beautiful moon- 
light, his quivering voice could still be heard 
proclaiming the blessings of Christ to his 
•children : — The sound was balm, 
■" A seraph -whisper to their wounded heart, 
Lulling the storm of sorrow to a calm." — 

Edmeston. 

Highteous ! Ver. 1. Francis de Sales re- 
marks that as the mother-o'-pearl fish lives in 
the sea without receiving a di'op of salt water, 
so the godly live in an ungodly world without 
becoming ungodly. As towards the Cheli- 
donian Islands springs of fresh water may be 
found in the midst of the sea — and as the fire- 
fly passes through the flame without burning 
its wing, so a vigourous Christian may live in 
the world without being affected with any of 
its humours. 

" Some souls are serfs among the free. 
While others nobly thrive." — Procter, 

Home Piety ! Ver. 7. At the time of the 
recent Indian outbreak, the missionary among 
them was advised of his danger, just as his 
family were engaging in prayer. They went 
through their united devotions as usual ; and 
before they were done, the savages were in the 
house. Taking a few necessaries, they hastened 
to conceal themselves. Though often in sight 
of the Indians and of burning buildings, they 
escaped all injury, and made a long journey in 
an open country without hm-t. Doubtless the 
God whom they honoured sent an angel-guard 
to defend them against aU their enemies. And 
such a guard had the devout family of Noah. 
Many a time did his words fret and irritate 
the workmen and neighbours, until they were 
well-nigh ready to stone him ; but as God pre- 
served Enoch in one way, and David in another, 
so did He protect this pious household — shut- 
ting the mouths of the Hens, 

Forbearance ! Ver. 4. As an old thief 
who has a long time escaped detection and 
punishment is emboldened to proceed to greater 
crime, thinking that he shall always escape ; 
so, many impenitent go on in sin, thinking 
that — because God does not at once punish 
them — therefore, they shall escape altogether. 

*' Woe ! Woe ! to the sinner ; his hopes, bright 
but vain. 
Will turn to despair, and his pleasures to 

pain ; 
To whom in the day of distress -ndU he fly ? 
— Hunter. 

Instruction ! Ver. 5. As to the ante- 
diluvian sinners, the 120 years were designed 
as a breathing time for repentance, so God 
made it a period of instruction for Xoah. 
During all that time, he was learning — learn- 
ing more about God, about His holiness and 
grace — about, it may be. His sublime scheme of 
redemption in Christ. Noah, like all saints, 
had to be schooled. He had to get new gleams 
of practical wisdom throughout those years — 



gleams which were to lighten the gloom of the 
weary and monotonous sojourn in the ark. No 
doubt, like ourselves, he did not relish the 
schooling. PerhajDS he was angry rather than 
thoughtful when some new thought came to 
him, or some new truth flashed its bull's-eye 
glare upon him ; just as when one gets a new 
piece of furniture, aU the other pieces have to 
be arranged and re-arranged in order to make 
it straight. Noah had a long education for the 
ark-life ; and no doubt he appreciated its ad- 
vantages while the huge, rude pile floated amid 
showers and seas, and chanted the grand 
anthem : — 

" 'Tis glorious to suffer, 
'Tis majesty to wait." 

Endurance ! Ver. 5. A virtuous and well- 
disiDosed person is like a good metal — the more 
it is fired, the more it is fined. The more 
Noah was opposed, the more he was approved. 
Wrongs might well try and touch him, but 
they could not imprint on him any false stamp. 

" Content all honour to forego. 
But that which come from God." — Kelly. 

Obedience ! Ver. 5. Is there not one force 
which goes far to throw down the dark barriers 
that sej^arate man from man, and man from 
woman — one mighty emotion, whose breath 
makes them melt like wax, and souls blend 
together, and be one in thought and will — in 
purpose and hope ? And when that one 
uniting force in human society — love built 
upon confidence — is diverted from the poor 
finite creatures, and transferred from one 
another to Him, then the soul cleaves to God 
as ivy tendrils to the oak, and the soul knows 
no higher delight — no supremer ecstasy than to 
do His will. As Bishop Hall says, there is no 
perfume so sweet as the holy obedience of the 
faithful. What a quiet safety — what an 
heavenly peace doth it work in the soul, in the 
midst of all the inundations of evil. 

" I run no risk, for come what wiU, 
Thou always hast Thy way." 

Animal Life! Ver. 9. In the morning, 
■writes Spurgeon, when the ark-door was 
opened, there might be seen in the sky a pair 
of eagles and a pair of sparrows — a pair of 
vultures a and pair of humming-birds — a pair 
of all kinds of bii-ds that ever cut the azure, 
that ever floated on the ^\^ng, or that ever 
whispered their song to the evening gales. 
Snails came creeping along. Here a pair of 
snakes— there a pair of mice presented them- 
selves — behind them a pair of lizards or locusts. 
So there are some who fly so high in know- 
ledge that few are ever able to scan theii- great 
and extensive wisdom ; while there are others 
so ignorant that they can hardly read their 
Bibles. Yet both must come to the OxE Door 
— Jesus Christ, who says : " I am the Door," 

" Blest Sa%4our, then, in love, 
Fear and distress remove ; 
O bear me safe above, 

A ransomed soul." — Palmer. 
143 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Flood! Ver 11. The scientific man asserts 
as the latest generalization of his science, that 
there is in nature the uniformity of natural 
seqiience, in other words, that nature always 
moves along the same path, and that law is a 
necessity of things. He thus indirectly asserts 
the probability of miracles, indeed, he admits 
them. For, where there is no law, there is no 
transgression ; and the very belief in miracles 
depends upon this uniformity. In nature we 
and deviations from this law of uniformity ; 
and so it is in the region of providence and 
grace. God lias a certain course of dealing 
generally with man, and He is pleased to 
diverge from that course at times, as in this 
instance of the flood, of Sodom's miraculous 
overthrow, and of Pharaoh's destruction in the 
Red Sea. Tlius — 

" Nature is still as ever 
The grand rejiository where He hides 
His mighty thoughts, to be dug out like 
diamonds. ' ' — Bigg. 

Lessons ! Ver. 11. It is not enough to 
follow in the track of the deluge, and listen to 
the wail of the antediluvians ; it is not enough 
to analyse philosophically the causes of the 
earth's upheaval and overflow ; it is not enough 
to regard the narrative as a school for the 
study of Noah's character, and to gaze with an 
admiration that is almost awe upon one of the 
stalwart nobility of mankind. We must draw 
the lessons which the record is designed to 
teach, hovv' abhorrent sin is in the sight of God 
in all ages, how earnest He is in the jsreserva- 
tion of His saints to the end of time, how He 
shapes the things of time and sense for the 
evolution of His own design, educing order 
from its vast confusions, and resolving its com- 
plications into one gi-and and marvellous unity, 
Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and 
forever, and how He can and will accomplish 
all that He has purposed in spite of wrath of 
men, or rage of seas : — 

" For what He doth at first intend. 
That He holds firmly to the end." — 

Herrich. 

Divine Dates ! Ver. 12. Man's dates are 
often trivial, as we see in the pages of an 
almanac or diary. Not so with the Divine 
chronology. His dates stand out like suns 
amid encircling stars. Around them human 
dates must constellate. Therefore He does 
not despise them. With Him they are no 
trifle ; and He would have us view them in the 
same light, regarding each date in the Divine 
chronology as the poet expressed himself of 
nature, that — 

" Each moss. 
Each shell, each crawling insect, holds a rank 
Important in the plan of Him who framed 
This scale of beings." — Thomson. 

Helplessness! Ver. 18. "A man over- 
board !" is tlie cry ! Then the passengers lean 
over the bulwarks with eyes riveted on the spot 

144 



where a few rising airbells teU his whereabouts. 
Presently the head emerges above the wave, 
then the arms begin to buffet the water. With 
violent efforts he attempts to shake off the 
grasp of death, and to keep his head from sink- 
ing. He makes instinctive and convulsive efforts 
to save himself ; though these struggles only ex- 
haust his strength, and sink him all the sooner. 
When the horrible conviction rushed into the 
souls of the antediluvian sinners that the flood 
had really come, how they must have struggled, 
clutching at straws and twigs in the vain liope 
of physical salvation. Yet, though the bodies 
■ of all perished ; shall we doubt that the spirits 
of many were pardoned ? As it is at times with 
the dying sinner, when the horrible conviction 
rushes into his soul that he is lost, when he 
feels himself going down beneath a load of 
guilt, he gTasps that which before he despised ; 
so these drowning wretches clutched at the 
saving truth of Noah's preaching. They were 
saved, yet so as by fire, as — 

" With failing eye, and thickening blood, 
They prayed for mercy from their God." — 

StucUey. 

Chronology ! Ver. 12. The thing that hath 
been, it is that which shall be ; and that which 
is done is that which shall be done, and there is 
no new thing under the sun. Spring clothes 
the earth with verdure ; summer develops this 
verdure into its highest beauty and luxuriance ; 
autumn crowns it with ripeness and fruit - 
fulness ; but Winter comes with its storms 
and frosts apparently to destroy all. Yet this 
apparently wanton destruction tends more to 
advance the i^rogress of nature than if summer 
were perpetual. Just so with the Divine re- 
tribution of the deluge. As the wind goeth 
toward the south, and turneth about to the 
north ; as it whirleth continually, and re- 
turneth again according to his circuits ; so 
with the flood of waters. It was a part of 
the Divine plan, by which moral progress 
should be made, so that creation might by 
retrogression rise to a higher platform of inner, 
life. SchiUer says that the Fall was a giant 
stride in the history of the human race. So 
was the Divine retriliution at the deluge. 
A wise and benevolent purpose lay hid under 
the apparently harsh and severe judgment. 
It was not only a terrible remedy for a terrible 
disease, but also a lever by which humanity 
was raised nearer to God. Dark as it was, 
the darkness was needed to display the lights, 
in it we see the sable robe, 

" Of the Eternal One, with aU its rich, 
Embroidery and emblazonment of stars." 

God's Door ! It was .shut as much for the 
security of those within, as for the exclusion 
of those without. When the father nightly 
bars the house-door, he does it for the protec- 
tion of his family who are safely slumbering. 
God shut the door not merely to sigaify that 
the day of gi-ace was past, but to secure thu 
comfort and safety of Noah and his family 



HOMILETia COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



from perishing by water. For this then was 
it that 

" The ark received her freightage, Noah last. 
And God shut to the door." 

Security ! Swinnock says of travellers on 
the top of the Alps that they can see the great 
showers of rain fall under them — deluging the 
plains and flooding the rivers — while not one 
drop of it falls on them. They who have God 
for their ref ue:e and ark are safe from all storms 
of trouble and showers of WTath. Noah and 
his family had no wetting though the windows 
of heaven yawned wide enough for seas to 
descend. 

" Yes ! Noah, humble, happy saint, 
Surrounded with the chosen few, 
Sat in his ark, secure from fear. 

And sang the grace that steered him 
through." 

Troubles! Ver. 18. An old Puritan said 
that God's people were like birds : they sing 
best in cages. The people of God sing best 
when in the deepest trouble. Brooks says : 
The deeper the flood was, the higher the ark 
went up to heaven. God imprisoned Noah in 
the ark that he might learn to sing sweetly. 
No doubt the tedium of then* confinement was 
relieved by many a lark-Hke carol. The ele- 
ments would make uproar enough at the first ; but 
God could hear their song as well as when the 
commotion in nature ceased, and 

" None were left in all the land, 
Save those delivered by God's right hand. 
As it were in a floating tomb." 

Graduation! Ver. 19. Sorrows come not 
single spies, but in battalions. This gradual 
increase of human grief — this progressive rise 
of the waters of aifliction is doubtless designed 
to lead men to repentance. It is said that 
when a rose-tree fails to flower, the gardener 
deprives it of light and moisture. Silent and 
dark it stands, dropping one faded leaf after 
another. But when every leaf is dropped : 
then the florist brings it out to bloom in the 
light. God sought by the graduation of the 
waters of the flood — by the progressive loss of 
each foothold, to awaken men to repentance. 
Over the resiilt He has cast a veil ; but hope 
prompts the thought that some sought and ob- 
tained mercy, before — 



"Beast, man and city shared one common 
grave, 
And cabn above them rolled the avenging 

wave, 
Wliilst yon dark speck, slow-floating, did 

contain 
Of beast or human life the sole remain." — 

Procter. 

Judgment ! Ver. 20. The men of the age 
of Noah were not more taken by sm-prise 
when the windows of heaven were opened to 
rain upon the earth — the men of Jerusalem 
were not struck with greater constei-nation 
when the eagles of Rome came soaring towards 
them, bearing on their wings the vengeance of 
one mightiei- than Cfesar — than the men of the 
last day shall be. Signs and wonders shall, no 
doubt, precede the coming of that day ; but 
the men then living will fail to take note of 
these signs ! But why is it thus ? Has Provi- 
dence any delight in snaring the sinner ? 
No ; but he is blinded a^ infatuated by his 
ovm. sin. No matter how plain the warnings 
of approaching doom may be, he passes on 
with an eye that will not see ! No matter 
how terribly it may lighten and thunder, he 
has no ear to hear ; until at length he is taken 
and desti'oyed — receiving as he sinned 

" The weight 
And measure of eternal punishment 
Weigh'd in the scales of Perfect Equity." — 
Bichersteth. 

Divine Care ! Ver. 23. A pious old man, 
who had served God for many years, was sitting 
one day with several persons, eating a meal 
upon the bank near the mouth of a pit in the 
neighbourhood of Swansea. 'While he was 
eating, a dove, which seemed very tame, came 
and fluttered in his breast and slightly pecked 
him. It then flew away, and he did not think 
much about it ; till in five minutes it came 
again, and did the same. The old man then 
said : " I Avill follow thee, pretty messenger, 
and see whence thou comest." He rose up to 
follow the bird ; and whilst he was doing so, 
the banks of the pit fell in. On his return he 
discovered that all his companions were killed. 
Thus was Noah preserved ! 

," Who then would wish or dare, believing this, 
Against His messengers to shut the door ? " 

— LoweU. 



145 



UOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Cbitioai Notes. — 4. Ararat] "A region nearly in the middle of Armenia, between theAraxes 
and the lakes Van and Urumia (2 Kings xix. 37, Isa. xxxvii. 38 : ['land of Armenia,' lit. 'of 
Ararat '], even now called by the Armenians Ararat, on the mountains of which the Ark of 
Noah rested ; sometimes used in a wider sense of the whole of Armenia (Jer. U. 27) itself." 
(Gesenius.) " It is especially the present Aghrl Dagh or the great Ararat (Pers. KuM Nuch, i.e. 
Noah's mountain, in the classics o "AjSos, Armen. 7nassis) and Kutsliulc DagTi or little Ararat." 
(Fiirst.) " As the chying wind most probably came from the east or north, it is likely that the 
ark was drifted towards Asia Minor, and caught land on some hill in the reaches of the 
Euphrates. It cannot be supposed that it rested on either of the peaks now called Ararat, as 
Ar-arat was a country, not a mountain, and these peaks do not seem suitable for the purpose." 
(Murphy.) — 5. And the waters decreased ] In the Heb. the construction here so changes as to 
impart a dramatic life and variety to the composition. Following the idiom of the original, we 
may render verses 4 and 5 thus : " Then does the ark rest, in the seventh month, on the seven- 
teenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. But the waters have come to be going 
on and decreasing as far as the tenth month ; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, 
have appeared the t^ of the mountains." Note the emphasis thro-ivn on "THE wateks," and 
the contrast thereby implied : as much as to say, " The ark becomes stationary ; not so THE 
WATEB3 — THET go Oil decreasing for moi-e than two months more." As nature abhors a vacuiim, 
so does the sacred story abhor monotony. As it progresses, the feeling changes, the lights and 
shades are altered ; under -tones are heard, glimpses of new views are caught. The ever- varying 
manner of the original should delight the student and admonish the public reader and the 
preacher.— 6. Window.] Properly, "hole:" not the same word as in ch. vi. 16. — 7. Eaven.] 
Probably so called from its blackness (Gesenius, Fiirst) : from its cry or croaking (Davies). 
— 8. Dove.] A tender, mild bird ; emblem oi purity, Sol. Song i. 15, iv. 1, v. 12 ; love, ibid v. 2, 
vi. 9 ; simplicity, Hos. vii. 11, Matt. x. 16 ; with, melancholy note, Isa. xxxviii. 14, Nah. ii. 7, Eze. 
vii. 16 ; and quick Iwmeicard flight, Isa. Ix. 8 ; Ps. Iv. 6 ; Hos. xi. 11.— 21. For the imagination.] 
— The " For " is apparently an iinhappy rendering. Better, with Leeser, "although," or with 
Young, " though : " better still, with Murphy, " because." God will not again make man's 
wickedness a " cause " or reason for bringing in a- flood of waters. 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGE APE.— Verses 1—5. 

The Gradual Cessation of Divine Retribution. 

I. That it is marked by a rich manifestation of Divine mercy to those who 
have survived the terrible retribution. " And God remembered Noah, and 
every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark." We are 
not to imagine from this verse, that God, had at any time during the flood, been 
unmindful of the ark and its privileged inhabitants, but simply that now He 
has them in especial remembrance, being about to deliver them from their 
temporary confinement. The Divine mercy is always rich toward man, but 
especially toward the good, in critical junctures of their history. Noah was 
indeed in a position to appreciate the loving attentions of heaven. Nor was the 
Divine remembrance limited to Noah and his relatives, but it extended to the 
animals under his care ; thus extensive and all including is the providence of 
God in its beneficent design toward the wide universe. 1. God's remembrance 
of his creatures during the cessation of retribution is merciful. True, Noah 
Avas a good man, and, in entering the ark, was obeying a Divine command, but 
what intrinsic right had he to such distinguished protection, and to the special 
remembrance of heaven? He could only receive it as the unmerited gift of God. 
God remembers the good in their afflictions, and that he does so is the outcome 
of His own merciful disposition toward them. Men would only get their desert 
if they were left to perish in the ark, on the wide waste of water on which it 
sails. Anything short of this is of God's abundant compassion. 2. God's 
146 



no MI LET IC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. chap. vill. 

remembrance of his creatures during the cessation of retribution is welcome. 
We can readily imagine that the ark would not be the most comfortable abode 
for Noah and his comrades, it would be confined in its space, and certainly not 
over choice in its companionships or select in its cargo. And while it was 
admirably adapted to the immediate use for which it was constructed, yet we 
doubt not that its occupants would be glad to escape from its imprisonment. 
The Divine remembrance of them at this time was the herald of their freedom ; 
now they will soon tread the solid but silent earth again. God's remembrance 
of His creatures after times of judgment, is generally the signal of good con- 
cerning them, the token of greater liberty, and of enhanced joy, even in the 
secular realm of life. 3. God's remembrance of his creatures during the cessa- 
tion of retribution is condescending. That the Divine King of heaven should 
give even a transient thought to a few individuals and animals, sailing on a 
wide sea, in an ark of rude construction, is indeed as great a mystery as conde- 
scension, and is evidence of the care which He extends to all His works. And 
thus it is that God adapts Himself to the moral character of man, and to the 
condition of all human creatures, in that he drowns the wicked in judgment, 
but remembers his servants in love. Thus He makes known His attributes to 
the race. 

II. That it is marked by the outgoing and operation of appropriate physical 
agencies. " And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters 
assuaged." There have been many conjectures in reference to the nature and 
operation of this wind ; some writers say that it was the Divine Spirit moving 
upon the- waters, and others, that it was the heat of the sun whereby the waters 
were dried up. We think controversy on this matter quite unnecessary, as 
there can be little doubt that the wind was miraculous, sent by God to the 
purpose it accomplished. He controls the winds. Jonah in the storm. The 
disciples in the tempest. And He would thus send out a great wind to agitate 
the waters that they might cease from covering the earth. God often sends his 
ordinary messengers on extraordinary errands. He has not to create or originate 
new forces to achieve new tasks, He can adapt the existing condition of nature 
to all the exigencies of life. And thus it happens that the cold bitter winds 
that blight our hopes, are sometimes commissioned to assuage our sorrows ; 
one agency may be employed in manifold service. Hence we cannot ante- 
cedently estimate results by the agencies employed. The Divine Being generally 
works by instrumentality. 1. Appropriate. 2. Effective. 3. Natural. And 
in this way is the cessation of divine retribution brought about. 

III. That it is marked by a staying and removal of the destructive agencies 
which have hitherto prevailed. " The fountains also of the great deep, and the 
windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained ; and 
the waters returned from off the earth continually ; and after the end of the 
hundred and fifty days the waters were abated." And thus when the destruc- 
tive elements have done their work, they are restrained by the authority which 
gave them their commission to go forth. There are perhaps few nations 
on the face of the globe but have experienced times of famine and pestilence, 
and how glad have been the indications that these destructive agencies have 
stayed their raging. These fierce agencies of the material universe, when let 
loose upon man, make terrible havoc ; are almost irresistible ; will neither 
yield to entreaty or to skill. They have their time, and when their mission is 
accomplished they return to their original tranquillity. Here we see: — 1. That 
the destructive agencies of the universe are awakened by sin. 2. That the 
destructive agencies of the universe are subdued by the power and grace of God. 
3. That the destructive agencies oj the universe are occasional and not habitual 
in their rule. The deluge of waters was not the frequent phenomenon of nature, 

147 



CHAP. VIII. 



IIOMILETia COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



but was a miracle wrought for the purposes of the degenerate age. The fierce 
agencies of the universe are under Divine control, they are not supreme, but 
are the emissaries of holy justice. The most awful retributions of God come to 
an end, and break again into the clear shining of His mercy. 

IV. That it is marked by a gradual return to the ordinary things and 
method of life. " And the waters decreased continually until the tenth 
month : in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of 
the mountains seen." Thus the tops of the mountains were visible, though 
they would not be seen by the inmates of the ark, as the window was not 
in a convenient position to admit of this, and they would not be able to 
open the door. And so the retributive judgments of God return to the 
ordinary ways of life, they do not permanently set aside the original purpose 
of creation. This return to the ordinary condition of nature is : — 1. Con- 
tinuous. 2. Rapid. 3. Minutely chronicled. The world is careful to note 
the day on which appeared the first indication of returning joy, when after a long 
period of sorrow the mountain tops of hope were again visible. It is fixed in the 
memory. It is written in the book. It is celebrated as a festival. Lessons : 

1. That the judgments of God, though long and severe, ivill come to an end. 

2. That the cessation of Divine judgment is a time of hope for the good. 3. That 
the cessation of Divine judgment is the commencement of a neiv era in the life 
of man. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verse 1. God's gxacious ones may 
be regarded as forsaken by the Lord. 
(Ps. xiii. 1). 

God's free grace keepeth his saints 
in mind when they seem to be for- 
gotten. 

The manifestation of God's care and 
help to his desolate ones is joined Avith 
his remembrance of them. 

God careth for the lower creatures 
for the sake of his Church. 

Grace can create means, and render 
them effectual to salvation. 

At the call of God, that which would 
otherwise enrage the waters, shall ap- 
pease them. 

God repeals his judgment by means, 
as well as imposeth them. 

" And God remembered Noah." He 
might begin to think that God had 
forgotten him, having not heard from 
God for five months together, and not 
yet seeing how he could possibly es- 
cape. He had been a whole year in 
the ark ; and now was ready to groan 
out that doleful Usquequo Dom'ine : 
Hast thou forgotten to be merciful? 
etc. But forgetfulness befalls not the 
Almighty. The butler may forget 
Joseph, his father's house ; Ah?isuerus 
14S \ 



may forget Mordecai ; and the de- 
livered city the poor man that by his 
wisdom preserved it (Eccles. ix. 15). 
The Sichemites may forget Gideon ; 
but " God is not unfaithful to forget 
your work and labour of love," saith 
the Apostle (Heb. vi. 10). And there 
is a "book of remembrance written be- 
fore him," saith the prophet, " for them 
that fear the Lord." (Mai. iii. 16.) 
A metaphor from kings that commonly 
keep a calendar or chronicle of such 
as have done them good service : as 
Ahasuerus (Esth. vi. 1), and Talmer- 
lane, who had a catalogue of their 
names and good deserts, which he 
daily perused, oftentimes saying that 
day to be lost wherein he had not 
given them something. God also is 
said to have such a book of remem- 
brance. Not that he hath so, or need- 
eth to have ; for all things, both past 
and future, are present with him : he 
hath the idea of them within himself, 
and every thought is before his eyes, 
so that he cannot be forgetful. But 
he is said to remember his people (so 
he is pleased to speak to our capacity) 
when he showed his care of us, and 
makes good his promise to us. We 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. VIII, 



also are said to be his "remembrancers" 
(Isa. Ixii. 6) when we plead his promise, 
and press him to performance. Not 
that we persuade him thereby to do us 
good, but we persuade our own hearts 
to more faith, love, obedience, etc., 
whereby we become more capable of 
that good. — (Traiip). 

Verses 2, 3. '^ And the ram from 
heaven tvas restrained." These four 
keys, says the Rabbins, God keeps 
under his own girdle : 1. Of the 
womb ; 2. Of the grave ; 3. Of the 
rain ; 4. Of the heart. " He openeth, 
and no man shutteth ; he shutteth, 
and no man openeth." (Rev. iii. 7.) — 
(Tra^jp). 

God's method of healing is contrary 
to that of wounding. Wind, fountains 
of deep, and windows of heaven are at 
God's disposal. 

All creatures move with agility and 
constancy at God's word for the de- 
liverance of the Church- 
God has his set time, and at that 
moment judgments must cease, and 
salvation appear to his saints. 

Verses 4, 5. No hazards shall pre- 
vent the means appointed for the safety 
of the Church from perfecting it. The 
tossing of waters shall not endanger 
the ark, so long as God steers it. 

God vouchsafes a partial rest unto 
his Church below, as an earnest of the 
full. 

Time and place are appointed by God 
for performing mercy to his Church. 

Waters must go and fall for the 
comfort of the Church, under the com- 
mand of God. 

Mercies are measured to months and 
days. 

God gives His Church mercy, and 
to see it. 

Now this mountain of Ararat is at 
least, according to the statements of 
the most recent visitors, 17,000 feet 
in height, that is to say, rather more 
than three times the height of the 
highest mountain in Scotland, Well, 
then, if the waters of the flood rose to 
such a lieight that they covered its 
summit, and by subsiding, enabled the 



ark to rest quietly on that summit, I 
cannot see how it is possible to escape 
the conclusion, which Hitchcock in his 
work on geology denies, however, that 
the waters did cover the whole habita- 
ble globe, round and round. The 
assertions of Scripture are so broad and 
so strong, that I cannot see how to 
escape their force. And then, the lan- 
guage is repeated : " abated from off 
the earth." — " The waters prevailed 
upon the earth." Now, let any honest, 
impartial reader of this chapter say 
what would be the impression upon 
his mind ; and I am sure it would be, 
that the flood there described was 
universal. And, as I stated before, if 
the flood was not universal, if it was 
topical, why did Noah take into the 
ark creatures found in every climate 
of the earth ? For instance, the raven, 
I believe, exists almost everywhere ; 
the dove certainly is found in eastern, 
western, northern, and southern lat- 
itudes. What was the use of preserving 
a bird that must have lived every- 
where ? And, when the dove went out 
of the ark, why did she return to it ? 
If you let out a dove between this and 
Boulogne, you will find that it will fly 
to the nearest dry land, probably to 
its own dovecote, as carrier-pigeons, it 
is well known, do. If this flood had 
not been universal, when the dove was 
let out, with its immense rapidity of 
wing, it would have soon reached that 
part of the globe that was not covered 
by the flood ; but she " found no rest 
for the sole of her foot : " and the 
presumption, therefore, is, that the 
whole face of the earth was covered 
by this deluge. — (Dr. Gumming. ) 

1. The first difficulty in the way of 
supposing the flood to have been lite- 
rally universal, is the great quantity of 
water that would have been requisite. 

2. A second objection to such a uni- 
versality is, the difficulty of providing 
for the animals in the ark. 

3. The third and most important 
objection to this universality of the 
deluge is derived from the facts 
brought to light by modern science, 
respecting the distribution of animals 
and plants on the ^\ohQ.—( Hitchcock.) 

149 



CHAP. VIII. HOMILETW COMMENTARY : GENESIS, 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 6—12. 

The Judicious Conduct of a Good Man in seeking to ascertain the 
Facts oe Life, and his Relation thereto. 

We observe : — 

I. That Noah did not exhibit an impetuous haste to get out of the circum- 
stances in which God had placed him. Noah had now been shut up in the 
ark for a long time, and yet he does not give way to complaining language, but 
calmly waits the day of his deliverance. That day advanced in definite stages ; 
the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were closed, the waters 
returned from off the earth ; then the ark rested on the mountain, and the 
waters gradually decreased until the tops of the mountains were seen, and 
Noah was permitted to step out on dry land. And this is the ordinary way 
of life ; men are gradually released from their troubles, and given, step by step, 
to see the purpose of God concerning them. They do not see the dry land 
all at once, upon the first outlook from the ark ; they have to wait for it many 
days. The waiting is a sacred discipline, and the effort to ascertain the facts 
of the case and the Divine providence in reference thereto, is strengthening to 
the soul. It is very important that our conduct should be wise and calm 
during the last days of trial, as indiscretion then may have a most calamitous 
effect upon our after life, and may mar the effect of former patience. Some 
men are very impetuous ; they are always seeking a change of condition and 
circumstance ; and consequently they often get out of the ark in which they 
are located before the waters have wholly subsided, and thus injury befals 
them. Men should never be in a hurry to betake themselves from positions in 
which God has placed them, even though they may be uncomfortable ; the 
proper time of release will come, and then they will be safe in availing 
themselves of it. 

1. We see that God does sometimes place men in unwelcome jyositions. The 
ark would not be a very welcome habitation to Noah. He would very likely, 
had he been consulted, have preferred another method of safety from the deluge. 
But there are times when God selects a man's circumstances for him, often 
uncomfortable, but always full of rich mercy. There are multitudes of good 
men to-day living and toiling in unfavourable spheres, which they would fain 
leave, but which they retain under a consciousness of duty. They are remaining 
in the ark till God shall give them permission to leave it. 

2. That when God does place men in unwelcome 2)ositions, it is that their own 
moved u-elfare may he enhanced. Noah was placed in the ark for his own safety, 
and also that he might be an instrument in the hand of Divine providence in the 
new condition of things after the flood. And so when good men are in circum- 
stances somewhat unfavourable, it is that God's love may be manifested to them, 
that they receive a holy discipline, and that they may accomjilish a ministry of 
good to those by whom they are surrounded. Men who go into the ark are 
safe, but they have hard work awaiting them. 

3. That when men are placed in umvelcome positions they should not remove 
from them without a Divine intimation. Had some men been in Noah's position 
they would have got out of the ark when it struck upon the mountain, they 
would have made no effort to ascertain the Divine will in reference to their lot. 
God never intends good men to get out of their arks until there is something 
better for them to step into. They must wait for the dry land. 

150 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY : GENESIS. chap. viii. 



II. That Noah was thoughtful and judicious in endeavouring to ascertain 
the will of God in reference to his position in its relation to the changing 
condition of things. 

1. Noah felt that the time tvas advancing for a change in his x>osition, and 
that it would he necessitated hy the new facts of life. Noah was not always to 
remaiu in the ark. Good men are not always to continue in their trying and 
unfavourable circumstances, they have presentiments of better things, and are 
justified in seeking to realize them in harmony with the Divine will. Some 
men never dream of bettering their circumstances, they are lethargic spirits, 
and are content to remain in the ark all their days ; they care not to inherit 
the new world before them. Mere ambition or restlessness should not lead men 
to alter their method of life or station, but only the providence of God as shown 
in daily events. When the earth is dry it is folly for a man to remain in the 
ark. The dry earth is God's call to Noah to come and possess it. Some men 
never have eyes to behold the opportunity of their lives. 

2. Noah recognised the fact that the change in his jjosition should he preceded 
hy devout thought and precaution. Before he left the refuge of the ark he made 
every possible calculation as to the likelihood of the future ; he did not irre- 
verently trust himself to the care of a Providence whose blessing he had never 
sought. He moved in his more welcome sphere of life guided by the will of 
God. A worthy pattern for all who may be about to change their mode of life. 

III. That Noah employed varied and continuous methods of ascertaining 
the facts of his position and his duty in relation thereto. " And he sent 
forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from 
the earth. And he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated 
from off the face of the ground." 

1. These methods ivere varied. First he sent forth a raven, "which went 
forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth." Now the 
raven, being a bird which feeds upon flesh and carrion, must have "found plenty 
of food floating on the waters ; and it could have sufiicient rest on the bodies 
of the dead animals : for anyone may have seen a carrion crow standing on a 
dead animal carried down a mountain stream. Then Noah sent forth the dove, 
which feeds upon seeds and vegetable matter, it was obliged to return. But the 
second time it returned with the olive leaf in its mouth, which shewed that the 
waters had very materially subsided, and were within a few feet of the ground. 
And so men who are seeking a change in their condition of life should employ 
the best and most varied agencies to ascertain the propriety and opportunity of 
so doing. One effort may not be reliable. The raven may not return, even if 
the flood has not subsided. Then try the second, a dove. And if you are 
honest in the sending forth of these messengers, and in the interpretation of 
the olive leaf on their return, you need not miss your providential way in life. 

2. These methods irere continuous. " And he stayed yet another seven days, 
and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark." You will notice here the 
interesting fact that Noah waited seven days. This is perhaps an indirect 
indication of the observance of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a time when 
men may test the facts of daily life and circumstance. 

3. These methods icere appropriate. Noah employed agencies that were 
ready to his use, that would be impartial in the service, and whose natural 
instinct would be an infallible guide. And so when men are testing the im- 
portant issues of life and circumstance, they should be careful to select the 
most fitting agencies for so doing. They should not risk so gi-eat a result upon 
an inappropriate or uncertain omen. 

IV. That Noah yielded a patient obedience to the test of circumstances 
which he had employed. — He was patiently obedient to the tests he employed ; 
he did not wantonly reject them or foolishly disobey them. Some men pretend 

151 



HOMILETia COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



to seek the Divine guidance in the transactions of their lives, and yet they 
never follow it when ojiposed to their own inclinations or foregone conclusions. 
They send out the raven and the dove, and yet get out of the ark upon the 
dictate of their own impulse. This conduct is profane and perilous. 

V. That indications of duty are always given to those who seek them 
devoutly. The dove returned to Noah with the olive leaf. It is stated by some 
natural historians, that the olive grew under water in the Red Sea, and bore 
berries there. Whether this be so or not, it is probable that the olive may live 
more healthily under a flood than most other trees. It is eminently hardy, and 
will grow in a favourable soil without care or culture. It is generally a plant of 
the Mediterranean. Men who seek j)rayerfully to know their duty in the events 
of life, will surely have given to them the plain indications of Providence. 
Lessons : — 1. That men should not trust their own reason alone to guide them 
in the eve7its of life. 2. That men tvho wish to know the right imth of life 
should employ the best talents God has given them. 3. That honest souls are 
Divinely led. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verse 6, 7. God in wisdom some- 
times lengthens trials to test the faith 
and patience of His saints. 

Believing saints, though God appears 
not, will stay contentedly ioxiy days, 
that is, the time for their salvation. 
Lawful means believers may use for 
their comfort, when there is no imme- 
diate appearance of God. 

Visible experiments of the ceasing 
of God's wTath may be desired, and 
used by His people, where the Lord 
sets no prohibition. 

Unclean or the worst of creatures 
may be of use sometimes to comfort 
the Church. 

Instinct of creatures from God 
teaches His people of His providence 
to them. 

Verse 8. The dove emblematical of 
the Holy Ghost. 1. As the dove rested 
not on the flooded ground so the Holy 
Spirit will not dwell in an impure 
heart. 2. As the dove returned in 
the evening into the ark, so the Spirit 
in the time of the gospel, which is the 
evening of the world. 3. As the dove 
brought an olive leaf whereby Noah 
knew that the waters were dried, so 
the Spirit brings comfort and peace to 
the soul, assuring it that God's judg- 
ments are past, their sins being par- 
doned. 

The raven sets forth the wicked in 
152 



the church who go and come but never 
effectually dwell there. 

Noah sent forth a raven and a dove 
to bring him intelligence ; observe here, 
that though God had told Noah par- 
ticularly when tlie flood would come, 
even to a day (Ch. vii. 4), yet he did 
not give him a particular account by 
revelation at what times and by what 
steps it should go away. The know- 
ledge of the former was necessary to 
his preparing the ark ; but the know- 
ledge of the latter would serve only to 
gratify his curiosity, and the concealing 
it from him would be the needful exercise 
of his faith and patience. He could 
not forsee the flood by revelation ; but 
he might by ordinary means discover 
its decrease, and God was pleased to 
leave him to use them [Benry and 
Scott]. 

Believing souls, when means answer 
not, will wait a longer time. 

God's gracious ones in faith use 
other lawful means if one do fail. 

Clean as well as unclean, that which 
is chosen by God may be used by His 
Church for its good. 

Faith in God's salvation may put 
souls upon a desire to see it, or to have 
evidence of it. 

God's gracious ones desire the abating 
of the tokens of the Divine displeasure. 

Verse 9. The best means that be- 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



lievers use may not always give them 
rest. 

God's providence in continual tokens 
of displeasure, may obstruct means 
of comfort. 

It is in such case the work of the 
saints to take up the means again, in 
due time to use them. 

The dove is an emblem of a gracious 
soul, that, finding no rest for its foot, 
no solid peace or satisfaction in this 
world — this deluged, defiling world — 
returns to Christ as to its ark, as to 
its Noah, its rest. The carnal heart, 
like the raven, takes up with the world, 
and feeds on the carrion it finds there ; 
but return thou to thy rest, my soul 
(Ps. cxvi. 7). that I had wings like 
a dove (Ps. Iv. 6). And as Noah put 
forth his hand and took the dove, and 
pulled her in to him, into the ark, so 
Christ will graciously preserve, and 
help, and welcome those that fly to 
Him for rest [^Henry and 8cott\. 

Verse 10, 11. God's way of answer, 
and the waiting of His saints are fitly 
coupled. 

God's gracious ones are of a con- 
tented, waiting and hoping frame. 

Faith will expect from seven to seven, 
from week to week, to receive answers 
of peace from God. 

After waiting, faith will make trial 
of la^vful means again and again. It 
will add messenger to messenger. 

Waiting believers shall receive some 
sweet return by use of means in God's 
time. 

He that sends out for God is most 
likely to have return from him. 

Visible tokens of God's wrath ceasing 
He is pleased to vouchsafe to His own. 



It concerns God's saints to consider 
His signal discoveries of grace to know 
them, and gather hope and comfort 
from them. 

The olive branch, which was an em- 
blem of peace, was brought, not by the 
raven, a bird of prey, nor by a gay and 
proud peacock, but by a mild, patient, 
humble dove. It is a dove-like dis- 
position that brings into the soul 
earnests of rest and joy [Henry and 
Scott\. 

This olive leaf in the mouth of the 
dove may set forth : — 

1. The grace and peace by Jesus 
Christ which are brought in the mouth 
of His ministers. 

2. The dove returned at first with- 
out her errand ; but sent again she 
brought better tidings. The man of 
God must not only be " apt to teach," 
but '' patient, in meekness, instructing 
those that oppose themselves ; proving, 
if at any time, God will give them 
repentance" [Trapp\. 

The fresh olive leaf Avas the first sign 
of the resurrection of the earth to new 
life after the flood, and the dove with 
the olive leaf a herald of salvation. 

Verse 12. The giving of one step of 
mercy makes God's saints wait for 
more. 

The saint's disposition is to get mercy 
by trying means, as well as to wait for 
it. 

In the withholding of return of means 
may be the return of mercy. Though 
the dove stay, yet mercy cometh. 

Providence promotes the comforts 
of saints when he seems to stop 
them. 



MAIN HOMILETIUS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 13—19. 

Man's Going Forth apter the Judgments of God, 

I. That he goes forth upon the Divine command. '•' And God spake unto 
Noah, saying, go forth of the ark, thou and thy wife, and thy sons, aud thy 
sons' wives with thee." 1. That Noah teas councilled to go forth from the ark 
on a day ever to be remembered. "And it came to pass in the six hundred 
and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were 
dried up from off the earth." Men should always keep the chronology of their 
moral life, the days of deliverance from unwelcome circumstances should be 

153 



/ 



ciiAr. VIII. IIOMlLF/nC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



carefully rcincnibcrcd ; this will aid the gratitude of the soul. Every great 
sold has its calendar of i)rogreKS. Thcrd arc some days men can never forget. 
Tlie day on which Noah came out of the ark would be an immortal memory. 
2. T/i((t Noah iras commai/dcd to go out from the ark when the earth was dry. 
(Jod never commands a man to leave his refuge or his circumstances under 
conditions that would render it indiscreet to do so. He waits till all is ready, 
and at the most iitting moment tells the good man to go forth from his hiding 
l)lace into the new splicre of activity. Men should not stoj) out of the ark 
until the earth is dry enough to receive them, and then only at the call of God. 

II. That he g-oes forth in reflective spirit. Wc can readily imagine that 
Noah would go forth from tlio ark in very reflective and somewhat pensive 
mood. 1, He would think of the multitudes who had been droumed in the great 
waters. As he stepped out of the ark and his eye only rested on his own little 
family as the occui)ants of the earth, his heart would be grieved to think of the 
jnultitudes who had been destroyed by the deluge. True he was glad to escape 
from the close confinement of the ark, but liis own joy would be rendered 
pensive by the devastation everywhere apparent. And when the judgments of 
(«od u])on the wicked are observed in the earth, it is fitting that men should be 
tliouglitful. 2. He would think of his oivn immediate conduct of life, and of 
the future before him. When Noah came forth from the ark, he stood in a 
world destitute of inhabitanis, and ecpially destitute of seed and harvest. lie 
Would have to engage in the work of cultivating the soil and in providing for 
the needs of the future, lie is now entering upon an anxious and laborious 
life, ilow few men truly realize that the future of the world depends upon 
their industry. The once solitary husbaudman is now forgotten in the crowd 
of those Avho culture the earth. 

III. That he goes forth in company with those who have shared his safety. 
l._ He goes forth in compaui/ with the relatives of his oivn family. " Go forth 
of the ark, thou and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee." 
(Jod ])crmitted the family of Noah to be with him in the ark, to relieve his 
solitude, to aid his ellbrts, to show the protective influence of true piety ; and 
now (]ic_y are to join him in the ])ossession of the regenerated earth, that they 
may onj'oy its safety, and aid its cultivation. 2. He goes forth in company ivith 
the life-giving agencies of the unicerse. " Every beast, every creeping thing, 
juul every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth; after their kinds went 
lorth out of the ark." And thus this motley and miscellaneous crowd came 
out of the ark to lill creation with its usual life. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Noah's first CoNSCIOUSN]!:SS of '"f*"'^ "/ «"'• 2. That it tvas only a faint type 

Safety after the Deluge. "J' ^^c jinai judymcnt. 

■%7-„.„„-«o -NT -i. • 1 i i 1 1 II. He would prdbably bo imiirossed with 

Vciso 13. Now, itis somcwliat natural, .ami ^^^^ Efficacy of the Remedial Expedient. How 

tm.ayn..tbocnthorin_nnterc«t,ngorui,pn.htablo, ^^.^^^.j^j ,^^ .^,^,^^j,.^, t,,^, _.^,.,. ^^^._^^ j^^^^j ^,, ^^^^^^ 

to s H-ouIate com-erning Noah s i,npn.ss.on on ^^^^^^j ..^^ ^^..^,^ ^1^^ ^,il,,,„.^ ^^,,^1 ,„ ^^^f^.j ,,.,,;,t,,^.re^i 

Z ] •' "^'"" *^" ^''"" ''^ ^^'"^ ^'™""'^ tho storm ■>. 1. Thi, cvpcdim^ Ls Divine. 

lliat was dry. m • x- -i. xi *. i- x r 

•' Chnstiauity, the great expedient for saving 

I. Ho would, ]irobably, be impressed with souls from the deluge of moral evil, is God's 
the Greatness of the Calamity he had Escaped. plan. " ^Vllat the law eould not do in that it 
Tlio roaring waters had sidisiilod, but they had was weak through the flesh." riiilosophy ex- 
wrought a terrible desolation, they had redueed haustcd itself in the trial. 2. T/iin c.vpcdicnt 
the earth to a vast eharuel house ; every living alone icas cffi'ctirc. When the dreadful storm 
voice is hushed, and all is silent as the grave. came we may rest assiu'ed that every one of 
riio i'atriareh perhaps woidd feel two things that terror-stricken generation would seize 
iu relation to this calamity. 1. 'That it was the some scheme to rescue him from the doom. 

151 



IIOMILETia COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. VI ir. 



There is no other name, &c. 3. The expedient 
ivas on/i/ effective to those who committed them- 
selves to it. 

III. He would probably be impressed with 
the wisdom of his faith in God. He felt now : 
]. That it was wi.ser to believe in the word of 
God, than to trust to the conclusions of his own 
reason. He lui^'ht have reasoned from the 
mercy of God, and the general experience of 
mankind, that Kiich an event as the deluge 
would never have ha]ipened ; but he trusted 
in God's word. 2. Tlutt it was wiser to believe 
in the Word of God, than to trust to the uni- 
formity of nature. 3. That it was wiser to 
believe in God's Word, than to trust to the 
current ojnnion of his contemporaries. Now, 
will not the feeling of the good man when he 
first enters heaven, correspond in some measure 
with the feelings of Noah on the occasion when 
he first loolced imra his ark, saw the face of 
the " dry ground," and felt that ho was safe ? 
Will there not Ijo a similar impression of tho 
tremendous calamity that has been escaped ? 
Will not the sainted spirit, as it feels itself safe 
in the celestial state, reflect with ordinary 
gratitude upon that deluge of sin and suffer- 
ing from which it has been for ever delivered. 
(llomilis^t.) 

As tlie flood commenced on the 17th 
of tlic second month of the 600th 
year of Noah's hfe, and ended on tho 
27th of the second month of the GOlst 
year, it lasted a year and ten days ; 
but whether a solar year of 3G0 or 365 
days, or a lunar year of 352, is doubt- 
ful [Keil and JJelitz.^ch]. 

As times of special mercy are re- 
corded by (lod ; so they should be 
remembered by the Church. 

At His appointed periods God 
measures out mercy unto his Church. 

The patient waiting of the saints 
would God have rcconled as well as his 
own mercy. 

As mercies move God's Church, so 



He moveth His saints to remove the 
vail, ;uid to meet them. 

Several periods of time God takes 
to perfect salvation to His Church. 

Verse 14 — 17. After their patient 
waiting God will certainly speak to 
His saints. 

God speaks not doubtfully but cer- 
tainly to His people in His returns. 

God Himself must speak unto the 
satisfying of His saints in reference to 
their conduct. 

Upon the change of Providence, 
God speaks change of duty to His 
saints. 

It is at God's pleasure to ordain or 
lay aside external means of man's sal- 
vation. 

God's promise is completely good 
unto His Church for saving. 

Propagation, and increase of creatures 
on earth, is God's blessing for His 
Church. 

Verses 18, 19. God's command and 
saint's obedience nmst be found to 
bring ab(jut their comfort. 

It becometh saints to make their 
outgoings and incomings only upon 
tho Word of God. ^ 

Providence appoints and maintains 
order in t^/c moving of His creatures ; 
but especially in His Church. 

Admirable is the work of Providence 
upon brutes to keep them in order. 

The motion of the brute is at the 
Word of God to go in and out for 
safety. 



MAIN nOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 20—22. 



The Devout Conduct of a Good Man after a Special Deliverance fiiom 

Eminent Danger. 

I. That Noah gratefully acknowledged his deliverance as from God. True, 
Noah had built the ark, and might liave taken much credit to himself for so 
doing. He might liave considered this an important element in his preservation 
from the waters of the deluge. And in contcmi)lation of his own effort he 
might have lost sight of the Divine providence over him. How many men 
after a period of cs[JC(nal deliverance from peril, magnify their own foretliouglit, 
their own skill ; they ahuost entirely forget the aid which heaven has rendered 

155 



CHAP. VIII. HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



them, and without which they could not have escaped the common doom. 
Such conduct is most ungrateful, and those who are guilty of it show them- 
selves unworthy of the help they have received. The truly grateful soul will 
always acknowledge the deliverances of life as from the loving care of God. 
He only can save men from the deluge occasioned by sin. 

II. That Noah devoutly offered to God a Sacrifice in token of his deliverance. 

Noah built an altar for burnt sacrifice, to thank God for gracious protection 
and to pray for his mercy to come. This is the first altar mentioned in history. 
The sons of Adam had built no altar for their offerings, because God was still 
present on the earth in Paradise, so that they could turn their offerings and 
hearts toward that abode. But with the flood God had swept Paradise away, 
withdrawn the place of His presence, and set up His throne in heaven, from 
which he would henceforth -reveal himself to man (chap. xi. 5 — 7). In future, 
therefore, the hearts of the pious had to be turned towards heaven, and their 
offerings and prayers needed to ascend on high if they were to reach the throne 
of God." \. TJiis sacrifice was the natural outcome of Noalis gratitude. Noah 
had been commanded to do everything else connected with his wondrous 
deliverance ; he was commanded to build the ark, and was given the pattern 
after which he was to construct it ; was told who were to occupy it, and when he 
was to leave it. But no command was issued in reference to the offering of this 
sacrifice ; that was left to the judgment and moral inclination of the patriarch. 
A truly grateful soul has no nee d to be told to offer a suitable sacrifice to God 
upon deliverance from danger. 2. This sacrifice tvas not precluded by any 
excuse consequent upon the circumstances of Noah. Noah did not give way to 
excessive grief at the destruction wrought by the waters, and so delay his 
devotion till liis sorrow was assuaged. He did not excuse himself upon the 
ground that his resources were scanty, and that therefore he would wait till his 
wealth was augmented before he would sacrifice to the Lord, and that then he 
would offer a sacrifice worthy the occasion. Noah offered according to his 
circumstances and did not allow any duty to take precedence of this. He did not 
indulge the joy of triumph so as to forget the claims of God upon him. He 
was a true man, alike in sorrow as in success. He showed himself worthy to 
be entrusted with the caret)f the new w^orld. 

III. That the sacrifice of Noah was acceptable to God and preventive of 
further evil to the world. 1. It was fragrant. " And the Lord smelled a 
sweet savour." He was propitiated. He had respect to the offering. It w\as 
welcome to him as the outcome of a grateful soul, and as emblematical of a 
sacrifice in the days to come, which would come up before Him as a " sweet 
smelling savour." 2. It v:as precentive of calamity. "And the Lord said in 
his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake ; for the 
imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth ; neither will I again smite 
any more every living thing, as I have done." The more we sacrifice to God 
the safer we become in our circumstances of life. Sacrifice is wisdom. If 
God were to destroy the world on account of the sin of man, it would never 
exhibit leaf or fruit, it would be seldom free from the angry waters of deluge. 
3. It teas preservative of the natural agencies of the universe. " While the 
earth remaineth seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and 
winter, and day and night shall not cease." There is a close connection 
between the sacrifices of the good and the fruitful springs of the universe. 
Devotion of soul is allied to the constancy of nature more than we imagine. 
The_ world's Noahs are allied to the world's seed time and harvest. What 
sacrifice have we offered to God for our many deliverances through life ? 

156 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



CHAP. YIII. 



suggestive comments on the verses. 
Noah's Offering on Coming Forth from the Ark, and its Results. 



Verses 21, 22. I. The occasion on whicTa 
this offering was made. It was no ordinary 
occasion. During the sixteen hunch-ed and fifty 
years in which the world had existed, there had 
been no such manifestation of the Divine cha- 
racter as this family had seen. 1. On this oc- 
casion how impressively would Noah and his 
family he reminded of the Divine forbearance 
ichich had hccn displayed to the ivhole world. 
There had been since the Fall a gradual un- 
folding- of the scheme of mercy in the institu- 
tion of sacrifice, the preaching of the patriarchs, 
and the teaching of the Spirit. 2. With what 
solemn atve would Noah and his family now 
view the earth hearing on every part of its sur- 
face the maris of recent renyeance. \Vlien they 
entered the ark the earth was .smiling with 
plenty and thickly populated ; now all ai'e 
gone. They are the sole remnant of the human 
popidation. 3. With what adoring and grate- 
ful feeling would Noah and his family view 
their own preservation on this occasion. Singled 
out by Divine mercy, preserved by Divine 
power, directed by Di\'ine wisdom, they had 
built the ark in which they had been pre- 
served, while all around was destroyed. 

II. In its Nature. 1. An expression of grati- 
tude. It was his first act. He stayed not to 
build a habitation for himself. His stock was 
small, yet he took the best of his flock. 2. An 
achiowiedgnwnt of dependence. Noah remem- 
liered his recent preservation, and in his offer- 
ing expressed his confidence that He who had 
preserved him under such circumstances would 
still continue to provide for his safety. 3. The 
offering of Noah was a lively exhibition of his 
faith -in the future atonement as well as an ap- 
propriate testimony that his recent preser- 
vation ivas owing to the efficacy of that atone- 
ment. 

III. In its results. 1. The offering was ac- 
cepted. 2. The promise which ivas given. 3. 
The covenant which loas made \_Sl-etches of Ser- 
mons by Wesleyan Ministers]. 

Obedience and sacrifice are sweetly 



set together by God, and kept together 
by saints. 

The first work due to God's salvation 
is the setting up of His worship in 
truth. 

The saints in faith built altars and 
brought sacrifices to God upon His 
word. 

God would have but one altar at a 
time in the place which he should 
choose. 

Altar and sacrifice worship is most 
requisite for sinners to come to God. 
Therefore Christ is both for propitia- 
tion. 

1. A believing priest. 

2. A sanctified altar. 

3. A clean sacrifice. 

4. A type of Christ. 

The sacrifice which God accepts 
must ascend and come up to Him, to 
be available. 

The sacrifice which brings peace to 
man, giveth glory to God. 

Verse 22. God pleased in Christ is 
resolved in heart, and promises to do 
good unto His people. 

The sons of Adam are from birth 
evil in their principles to high provoca- 
tions. 

Grace in God's covenant glories over 
sin and will overcome it. 

Sinners may be exempt from one 
kind of punishment, though not from 
all. 

The seasons : 1. Secured by cove- 
nant. 2. While the earth remains. 
3. Varied in fertility. 



157 



CHAP. VIII, 



nOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER YIII. 

BT THE 

REV. WM. ADAMSOK 



Xiongings ! Ver. 1. As prison ers in castles 
look out of their grated windows at the smiling 
landscape, where the sun comes and goes ; as 
we, from this life, as from dungeon bars, 
look forth to the heavenly land, and are re- 
freshed -wath sweet visions of the home that 
shall be ours when we are free. And no doubt 
the longings of Noah and his family were in- 
tensely deep for the hour when once more they 
could leave their floating prison to rest beneath 
sunny skies, and to ramble amid verdant fields. 
So does the new creature groan and travail in 
pain for the moment when it shall be freed 
from this body of death, and rest upon the 
sunny slopes of the new earth wherein dwelleth 
righteousness. But patience ! and thine eyes 
shall see, not in a swift glance cast, but for 
eternity, the land that is far off : — 

" Yes ! though the land be very far away, 

A step, a moment, ends the toil, for thee ; 
Then changing grief for gladness, night for day. 
Thine eyes shall see." — Havergal. 

Judgments ! Ver 5. After the tossings 
cease the window is opened, and the tops of 
the mountains are seen. Its light shines in 
from the new world. What is at first seen 
appears isolated. The waters stDl only jjermit 
glimpses, iinconnected glimpses of the coming- 
new earth. Yet there it is ; and the hill toj)s 
are pledges of untold and unknown scenes of 
future joy. For many a day Noah, the 
spiritual man, has been shut up ; but now the 
floods of regenerating judgment assuage, and 
the light breaks in. Now the new man 
belongs to the new creation ; for the old man 
and his monstrous progeny are destroyed, and — 

" Mercy's voice 
Is now heard pleading in the ear of God." 

Safety ! Ver. 1. A ship was sailing in the 
Northern Sea, with wind and tide and surface 
current all against her. She was unable to 
make way. In this emergency the captain 
observed a majestic iceberg moving slowly and 
steadily in the very direction he desired to 
take. Perceiving that there was an iinder- 
curreut far below the surface, and acting on 
the extended bar;3 of the iceberg, he fastened 
his vessel to the mass of ice, and was carried 
surely and safely on his course against the wind 
and wave. Noah anchored his ark to the 
Providence of God. No sails were unfurled to 
the breeze, no oars were unshipped to mov'e the 
lumbering ark, no rudder v>'as employed to 
steer. The Providence of God was deeper 
than the winds and wave and contrary current ; 
and to that, he fastened his barque with the 
strong cable of faith. Hence the security of 
the ark with its living freight : — 

158 



" Let cold-mouthed Boreas, or the hot- 
mouthed East, 
Blow till they burst with spite ; 
All this may well confront, all this shall ne'er 
confound me." — Quarks. 

Protection .' Ver. 4. Years ago, one of 
our fleets was terribly shattered by a violent 
gale. It was found that one of the ships was 
unaffected by the fierce tumvilt and commotion. 
Why ? Because it was in what mariners de- 
signate so forcibly " the eye of the storm." 
Noah was so situated. While all was desola- 
tion, he was safe. The storm of wind and 
rain and watery floods might toss and roar and 
leap ; Noah's ark was at rest — safe in " the eye 
of the storm." And just as the ship's compass 
is so adjusted as to keep its level amidst all the 
heavings of the sea ; so the heaven-built struc- 
ture was calm amid encircling billows. Amid 
the fluctuations of the sea of life, the Christian 
soul remains undisturbed ^calm amid tumul- 
tuous motion — in " the eye of the storm." 

" Leave then thy foolish ranges, 
For none can thee secure 
But One who never changes. 
Thy God, thy life, thy cure." 

Security! Ver. 6. When Alexander the 
Great was asked how he could sleep so soundly 
and securely in the midst of surrounding danger, 
he reiDtied that he might well rejjose when 
Parmenis watched. Noah might well be in 
peace, since God had him in charge. A gentle- 
man, crossing a dreary moor, came upon a cot- 
tage. When about to leave, he said to its 
occupant, "Are you not afraid to live in this 
lonely place ?" To this the man at once re- 
sponded, " Oh ! no, for faith closes the door at 
night, and mercy opens it in the morning." 
Thus was Noah kept during the long night of 
the deluge ; and mercy ojsened the door for 
him. 

" Heaven closed its windows, and the deep 
Restrained its fountains, while the arid winds 
Swept o'er the floods." — Bickcrsteth. 

Teachers ! Ver. 6. Each of God's saints, 
writes a model minister, is sent into the world 
to prove some part of the Divine character. 
One is sent to live in the valley of ease — 
having much rest, and hearing sweet birds of 
promise singing in his ears — to prove the love 
of God in sweet communings. Another is 
called to stand where the thunder clouds brew 
— where the lightnings play, and where the 
tempestuous winds are howling on the moun- 
tain tops — to prove the power and majesty of 
God to keep from all harm, and preserve amid 
all peril. Thus : — 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. VIII. 



" God sends His teachers into every age, 
To every clime, and every race of men, 
With revelations fitted to their growth." — 
Lowell. 

Kaven ! Ver. 7. 1. Some have likened this 
Lird to the law, which can tell no tale of com- 
fort — which leaves the soul in the deepest cells 
of uttermost despair, and which pays no sooth- 
ing visit. 2. Others have compared this bird 
with the worldling, to whom the Gospel ark 
is not a welcome home — who is carried away 
by the wild desires and raging lusts — who 
wanders to and fro, and never settles, and 
who feed upon the putrid remnants of sin, 
the carrion of loathsome pleasures. 3. Others 
again have regarded this gloomy bird and its 
instincts as a type of the old nature in the 
Christian, for of the impure a remnant still 
exists in the saintly heart. Thus the. raven, 
finding its food in carrion, figures those in- 
clinations, writes Jukes, which feed of dead 
things. The ark does not change the raven ; 
so the Ci-oss may restrain, but does not alter 
impure desires. 

Dove ! Ver. 8. The Mandan Indians have 
an annual ceremony held round a " big canoe " 
which is of singular interest. The ceremony 
is called "the settling- of the waters;" and it 
is held always on the day in which the willow 
trees of their couiitry come into blossom. The 
reason why they select this ti'ee is that the 
bird flew to their ancestors in the " big canoe " 
when the waters were settling, with a branch 
of it in its mouth. This bird is the dove, 
which is held so sacred among them that 
neither man, woman, nor child would injure 
it. Indeed, the Mandans declare that even 
their dogs instinctively respect the dove. 

" Sweet dove ! the softest, steadiest plume 
In all the sunbright sky, 
Bright'ning in ever-changeful bloom, 
As breezes change on high." 

Olive Tree ! Ver. 11. This may justly 
be considered one of the most valuable gifts 
which the beneficent Creator has bestowed up- 
on the human family — and in its various and 
important uses, we may discover the true rea- 
son why the dove was directed by God to select 
the olive leaf from the countless variety which 
bestrewed the shiny tops and declivities of 
Ai-arat— as the chosen symbol of returning 
health and life, vigour and strength, fertility 
and fruitfulness. 

" For in a kindly soil it strikes its root, 
And flourisheth, and bringeth forth abun- 
dant fruit." — Southe)/. 

Ark-rest ! Ver. 8. Noah's dove found no 
rest for the sole of her foot, though the raven 
did. But his foothold — decay and death — 
would not suit her ; so, whirling round and 
round, at last she returned to the ark. The 
needle in the compass never stands still, but 
quivers and trembles and flutters until it comes 
right against the north. The wise men of the 
East never found rest until they were right 



beneath where the star gleamed. So the soul 
can enjoy no true and fixed repose till it enters 
into Christ, the true ark ; and all its tossings 
and agitations are but so many wings to carry 
it hither and thither, that it may find rest. 
As Augustine says : " Thou, O God, hast 
created us for Thyself, and our hearts are rest- 
less until they rest in Thee." Therefore the 
soul that seeks rest elsewhere, 

" Oh ! but it walks a weary round. 
And follows a sad dance." — Manson. 

Dove-voices ! Ver. 8. A young man who 
had been pioiisly brought up, but who had 
given himself np to every kind of vice and 
folly, at last joined himself to a company of 
pirates. A voice — soft and gentle as a mother's 
— seemed to be always pleading with him. It 
was the plaintive, appealing "coo-oo" of the 
dove. Wherever he went, there he heard the 
" home-call." One night, when the crew had 
landed amid the lovely forest scenery of a 
West Indian island, he heard the "dove-voices" 
amid the tropical vegetation. The tender, re- 
proachful murmer seemed to pierce him through 
his very heart. He fell on his knees in deep 
contrition of soul ; and the same dove who 
had called him to penitence, called him to 
peace. 

" For back He came from heaven's gate. 
And brought — that Dove so mild — 
From the Father in heaven, who hears Him 
speak, 
A blessing for His child." — Bremer. 

Olive Leaf! Ver. 11. There is one still for 
the family of God in the ark of His Church 
floating (in the troublous M^aters of the world. 
For ages the weary cry of the people of God, 
waiting and watching for the final deliverance, 
has gone up : How long, O Lord ? The Dove 
— the Holy Spirit — bears to us the olive-leaf : 
I -will come again, and receive you to myself. 
The raven — i.e., human reason — does not Taring 
this emblem of hope ; but the Heavenly Com- 
forter — 

" Oh ! who could bear life's stormy doom. 
Did not Thy Heavenly Dove 
Come brightly bearing through the gloom, 
A peace-branch from above !" — Moore. 

Dove-lessons i Ver. 9. Doves have been 
trained to fly from place to place, carrjang 
letters in a basket, fastened to their necks or 
feet. They are swift of flight ; but our prayers 
and sighs are swifter, for they take but a mo- 
ment to pass from earth to heaven, and bear 
the trouljles of our heart to the heart of God. 
As Gottliold says, these messengers wing their 
way, and in defiance of all obstacles they re- 
port to the Omniscient the affliction of the 
victim, and bring back to him the Divine con- 
solation. And yet not always at once ; for 
Noah sent his messenger out more than once 
ere the message of peace and prosperity was 
brought back. The dove — 

159 



CHAP. YIII. 



HOMILETW I COMMENT A R Y : GENESIS. 



f 

" A second time returning to her rest^ 
Bronglit in her mouth a tender oli\''e-leaf — 
Emblem of peace." ' 

Olive-Sjonbol ! Ver. 11. The celebrated 
Captain Cook found that green branches — 
carried in the hands, or stuck in tl.ie ground — 
were the emblems of peace uniyersally em- 
ployed and understood by the mimerous and 
untutored inhabitants of the SoiTtb; Sea Islands. 
Tm-ner mentions that one day, -jtv-hen he and 
others were backing out into deep water to get 
clear of some shallow coral-paitehes, and to 
look for a better passage for 'their boat^ the 
natives on the shore — thinking they were 
afraid — ran and broke off brfjinches from the 
trees, and waved them above their heads in 
token of peace and friend^ship. The cruel 
natives of Melanesia iised this as a means of 
decoying the missionary B^' shop Pattison ashore 
to be murdered. And iience the people of 
Israel were commanded to construct their 
booths at the Feast of Tabernacles partly with 
branches of olive. All the civilized nations 
of the world were secretly directed by the over- 
riiling Providence of Heaven, writes Paxton 
to bear them in their hands as emblems of 
peace and amity. 

Dove-Symbol ! Ver. 11. Bishop Lake 
says that tie early fathers observed the alle- 
gory which Peter makey in comparing Noah's 
ark unto the Church. p?hey considered that as 
the dove 1 jrought the o''iive branch into the ark, 
in token that the deluge had ceased, even so 
the dove, which lighted upon Christ, brought 
the glad tidings of the Gospel, that other ark — 

" Like Noah's, cast upon the stormy floods, 
But sheltering One who gave His life for 

man." 
Deluge! Ver. 13. This narrative has en- 
countered countless and incisive criticism. The 
enemies of truth have gathered about it. 
They have marshalled all their forces. They 
have looked from a distance upon its palaces 
and towers. Sceptical scientists have said : 
" We wUl undermine these chapters ■with ad- 
verse criticism on the possibility of such a 
deluge. We will 'prove that its foundations 
are a mere shell — that within is but a bed of 
quicksand." Thus have they toiled to shatter 
Noah's ark for centuries ; but it still remains 
intact ; and though it is not true that the 
material fabric remains undecayed on the 
summit of inaccessible Ai-arat, yet it is glo- 
riously true that the moral structure stands 
fixed and sine on the towering summit of 
Divine Truth : — 

" Grounded on Ararat, whose lofty peaks, 
Soon from the tide emerged." 

^ ' Freedom ! Ver. 17. When the door of the 
^"^'^.^ J^- was thrown open what a joyous bursting 
tortn "iriv>^gi.g -^^.j^g ) The strong eagle spread his 
wmgs an 'Ttij goared upward from the place of his 
long captiviij^^,. ^j^^ ^^^.^j ^. ^,j^^ j^^j 



field and the birds of the air followed — each 
in its own way. They had entered by two and 
two — by seven and seven, in order and method ; 
but doubtless they came out in a different 
manner — swift — eager — delighted. 

" Till all the phune-dark air, 
And rude resounding shore were one wild cry." 

— Anonymoxis. 
How will the bodies of the saints bound from 
the ark of the grave ! How will their sphits 
spring with inconceivable gladness, when the 
door is opened, and they are bidden to " enter 
into the joy of their Lord !" 

Spiritual Truth ! Ver. 13. Gather off 
your beech-trees in the budding spring days 
a little bro-\vn shell in which lies tender green 
leafage, and if you wiU carefully strip it, you 
will find packed in a compass that might al- 
most go through the eye of a needle the whole 
of that which afterwards in the sunshine is to 
spread and grow to the yellow green foliage 
which delights and freshens tlie eye. In this 
mysterioiis incident of the Deluge are folded 
up all the future purposes of Jehovah in the 
destiny of the world — all the fruitful lessons 
of grace and goodness to be taught to the 
future generations of the church, and all the 
figurative symbolism bearing upon the many- 
sidedness of the great salvation of the Son of 
God:— 
" Ours by His eternal purpose ere the universe 

had place ; 
Ours by everlasting covenant, ours by free 

and royal grace." 

Liberty ! Ver. 18. Up to this point, Noah 
was a prisoner of hope — seciu-e, yet stUl a 
prisoner. When through grace the sinner has 
passed the judgment of the first creation, and 
has felt the tossings cease, and then has seen 
the hiU-tops, and received the olive-leaf from 
the mouth of the gentle Dove, his freedom is 
near. Many a conscientious doubt as to rules 
or times or places is now resolved for us. Then 
Noah and his sons, 

" With living tribes innumerous, beasts and 
birds. 
Forth from the ark came flocking." 

Acceptance | Ver. 21. As Abel came with 
the appointed lamb, and was accepted ; so 
Noah came with his sacrifice, and his service 
was grateful incense. Both offerings teach 
that there is a virtue in the death of Christ so 
precious and so mighty that it has resist- 
less power with God. To use the ex- 
pressive language of Law, " the curtains 
of God's paviUon are here thrown back, 
and each attribute appears rejoicing in re- 
demption." The Spirit says that the Lord 
smelled a sweet savour — that clouds of pre- 
vailing odours pierced the skies. Its flame 
was a light to pious pilgrims in patriarchal 
times, and after the lapse of centuries it con- 
tributes this diamond-radiance to us ; when as 
of old— 
" The smoke of sacrifice arose, and God 

Smell'd a sweet savour of obedient faith." 



CHAP. IX. HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Critical Notes. — 1. God] Heb. Elohim. Blessed] Similar to the blessing pronounced upon 
Adam and Eve (Gen. i. 28 .—2. The fear of you, and the dread of you] The fear of you, as existino- 

in the inferior animals. " Dread " imparts a greater intensity of meaning into the word the 

fear which paralyses. It may be that even in Paradise the lower animals had a wholesome fear 
of man, by means of which they could be kept in subjection. Now they are to be ruled by force 
and terror. — 3. Every moving thing that liveth] This form of permission forbids the using of any 
animal that hath died of itself.— 4. But the flesh -with the life thereof ] Some suppose that it is 
hereby intended to forbid the cruel custom of some ancient nations in tearing off the flesh from 
living animals. But this was the practice of later heathenism, and it is therefore more probable 
that we have here a command that the blood of animals must first be shed before they can be 
used for food. This prohibition was also made to serve the purpose of educating the people to 
the idea of the sacredness of blood as a means of atonement (Lev. xvii. 11 ; Heb. ix. 22). — Life.] 
The animating principle — the animal soul. The blood is regarded as the basis of life (Deut. 
xii. 23). "The blood is the fluid-nerve : the nerve is the constructed blood" (Lange). "He 
disgorges the crimson tide of life " ( Virgil), JEn. IX., 348. — 5. Your blood of your lives] LXX. 
has "blood of your souls" — the blood which contains the life or animal principle. — Eequire] 
i.e., judicially, in the sense of making " inquisition for ;" same verb used in Psa. ix. 12. — At the 
hand of every beast] They have no right to human flesh, and men are to avenge the injuries 
they suffer from them. Hence their extermination is justifiable for the protection of human life. 
— Every man's brother] Heb. " Of every man^ his brother." Society was thus permitted to 
inflict punishment for the highest wrongs against itself. Every man was to see in every other a 
brother, which recognition would give an awful significance to the crime of murder. Some 
consider that the duty of blood-vengeance is thus laid upon the next of kin ; but this 
sprang up in later times, and it is better to take the words as laying down the principle of 
all such punishments.^ — Life of man] Man is emphatic. — 6. By man] This would seem to 
denote the instrument of the action, yet the Hebrew has a special phrase to indicate 
such a meaning, in that case using the expression " by the hand of man." It is more 
probable that the preposition denotes substitution " in the place of man," " life for life.'' Thus 
2 Sam. xiv. 7, " For the soul (the life, or in place of) his brother." The LXX has (ver. 6) "in 
return for his blood." The Targvun of Onkelos has " by the witnesses according to the word of 
judgment." — 9. My covenant] Usually means a compact made between two parties, delivered 
in solemn form, and requiring mutual engagements. As employed in Scripture, from the nature 
of the case, it must also be extended to mean God's promise by which He binds Himself to His 
creatures without "^erms, absolutely (Jer. xxxiii. 20 ; Ex. xxxiv. 10). Geseiiius derives the term 
from the verb " to cut," as it is a Hebrew phrase "to cut a covenant," and it was customary for the 
purpose of ratifying such to divide an animal into parts. Others derive it from the verb " to 
eat together," thus explaining the phrase " covenant of salt." By others it is referred to 
purifying (Mai. iii. 2). — 13. I do set] Heb. " I give— constitute — appoint." — My bow] This 
implies that the bow previously existed, but was now appointed as the sign of the covenant. It 
was already a symbol of constancy in nature. The rainbow is used in Scripture as the symbol 
of grace returning after wrath (Ez. i. 27, 28 ; Pev. iv. 3 ; x. 1). — Token]. Some appointed object put 
before two parties for the purpose of causing them mutually to remember (Gen. xxxi. 48, 52), 
14. When I bring a cloud] Heb. " In clouding a cloud," denoting intensity. A probable 
reference to the violent showers of the eastern woi-ld, issuing from thickly congregated 
clouds ; on which dark ground the rainbow would appear. — 16. The everlasting covenant] 
Heb. "The covenant of eternity."— 17. Token of the covenant] The Hebrew word is 
not used of miraculous signs. Any permanent object would serve. A memorial 
was all that was required. — 18. Shem, and Ham, and Japheth] See Critical Notes, ch. v. 
Japheth was the eldest ; but Shem is named first, as being the family whence the Messiah was to 
spring. —Ham] So named, probably, from his children occupying the torrid regions. The name 
is applied to Egypt ; and in the Coptic signifies blackness, as well as heat. — Japheth] Signifies 
spreading. He was the father of the largest portion of the human family, Celtic, Persian, 
Grecian, German — occupying the northern part of Asia, and all Europe. — Ham is the father of 
Canaan] Mentioned to draw attention to the fact that Ham was cursed in his family, not 
specially in himself. The sacred historian appends such notices, as reading the prophetic word 
by the light of subsequent history. It was also necessary to show how the curse of God rested 
upon the Canaanites. — 19. Overspread] Heb. "divided," or "dispersed." They were the 
progenitors of those who divided the whole earth for a habitation . — 20. And Noah began to be a 
husbandman] Heb. The man of the ground. Like the Gr. ysufyos, and the Lat. Agricola. 
As the Heb. has the article, the meaning is conveyed that such had been his occupation, and it 
is now resumed after the interruption of the flood. — Planted a vineyard] The first mention of the 
culture of the grape. This was well known to have been the chief occupation of the Western 
Asiatics, chiefly Syria and Palestine.— 21, He was uncovered] More accurately, "he uncovered 

Q 161 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. chap, ix. 



himself." Intoxication made liim careless regarding the ordinary provisions for preserving modesty. 
_22 Told his brethren without] Outside the tent.— 24. Andknewl The particular word used 
implies that he had this knowledge of himself, and not from the information of others. He became 
sensible of his condition —His younger son] Heb " His son, the little." Some consider that 
Shem was the youngest, as Ham is second in the list in five other places But here, the order 
of the names is no crtain guide ; because it was customary to arrange names according; to their 
rhythm, or sound. Others say that the or.-.er of the names is determined by their importance 
and moral nobility as factors in fulfilling the purpose of God. The most likely meaning is, that 
Ham was the "little one" distinctively, ie., the youngest of all— Had done unto him] Heb. 
" A thincf which " 'I'he exi^ression implies something more than carelessness or omission, and 
suggests "the idea of some positive act of shame or abuse.— 25. Cursed be Canaan] " Ham is 
puni-shed in his sons, because he sinned as a son ; and Canaan, because Canaan followed most 
closelv in his father's footsteps." Noah fixes his prophetic eye upon this people as the most 
powerful and per.sistent enemies of Israel. — Sarvant of servants] A Hebraism to denote extreme 
degradation— a state of slavery. " Hewers of wood, and drawers of water" (Josh, ix 23), refers 
to their complete subjugation 'in the days of Jo-shua and Solomon. — 26- Blessed be the Lord God 
of Shem] Heb. " Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Shem." " If Jehovah is the God of Shem, 
then is Shem the recipient and the heir of all the blessings of salvation which God, as Jehovah, 
procures for humanity."— A'c?7. Shem has the redeeming name of God —Canaan shall be Ms 
servant] Heb. "Servant to them." Referring to those who should descend from Shem. Fulfilled 
when Israel conquered Canaan, extirpated the greater part of the inhabitants, .and reduced the 
remnant to entire subjection. The gi eat obstacle to the family of Shem in the time of Abraham 
was the Canaanite (Gen. xii. 6).— 27. God shall enlarge Japheth] Lange renders it, " God give 
enlargment to the one who spreads abroad." The word signifies to make room for, or give space 
for outspreading. Keil iinderstands it metaphorically, as denoting happiness or prosperity. 
Brimdn"- into a "large place" is an image frequently employed in the Psalms and other places, to 
express a state of joy (Psa cxviii. 5 ; 2 Sam. xxii 20). But the more literal interpretation is 
probably the true one. Japheth was to spread out through the earth, to have the colonising 
spirit. And he shall dwell in the tents of Shem] — The chief Jewish authorities, with others, 
make Elohim the subject of the verb, and with sufficient reason, as there is no necessity for a 
new grammatical subject. It is more natural to interpret the words as describing two acts of 
God. He (God) will enlarge Japheth, but He will dwell in the tents of Shem. This view gives 
a more spiritual significance to the prophecy. Shem was the habitation of God. A merely 
political interpretation fails to satisfy so high a conception. 

MAIN EOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 1—7. 

The Divine Benediction on the New Humanity. 

The human race now starts from a new beginning. Through the Fall the 
contagion of sin had spread until the Old World had reached a maturity of 
corruption, and tempted beyond forbearance the vengeance of Heaven. The 
terrible judgment of the Flood overwhelmed the violence that filled the earth, 
and destroyed all except the " eight souls who were saved by water." But 
Mercy at length finds a time for rejoicing and triumph, and those deeds_ of 
kindness in which she delights. The Divine benediction, so full of present gifts 
and of promise, came in answer to pious devotion expressed in an act of sacrifice. 
The new humanity had acknowledged sin, and the necessity of propitiating 
Him to whom alone man has to render an account. God's blessings are no 
empty form of words, no pleasing abstractions in which alone philosophic medita- 
tion can delight. They are substantial good. God loves, and therefore gives. 
The word of blessing, in ver. 1, is afterwards expanded into gifts and provisions 
for the new humanity. " God blessed Noah and his sons," and spake unto 
them in words which represented solid benefits. Here we have blessing in the 
form of provisions for this new beginning of the human race. 

1. Provision for the Continuity of its Physical Life (verse 1). Death must 
still reign until destroyed as the last enemy. Successive generations shall go 
down to the grave, to be replaced by others who in tlieir turn must submit to 
the common fate. But while the individual dies, as far as his portion and 
work in the world are concerned, the race is destined to be immortal. The 
162 



CHAP. IX. HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



stream of human life must flow on throughout the ages, until God shall be 
pleased to bring in a new order, and the former things be passed away. This 
continuity of humanity through the wastes of deatli is to be maintained by 
the institution of marriage. To these progenitors of the new race, God said, 
as to our first parents, " Be fruitful and multiply." Sexual sin had been the 
ruin of the old world ; but now it shall be seen that lawful connections can be 
formed and the proper uses of marriage secured. The command to replenish 
the earth by the multiplication of the species is now given to men who with 
their " wives " came forth out of the aric. It is therefore a re-affirniation of 
the sanctity of marriage. This divinely appointed provision for the con- 
tinuance of man upon the earth. — 1. Raises the relation between the sexes above 
all degrading associations. Without the protection and guidance of a divine 
ordinance, such relations would be chiefly governed by natural instincts. 
Marriage controls these, and restrains their impetuosity within wholesome 
bounds. It brings the relation between the sexes under the sanction of God's 
order, by which it becomes ennobled. Man is thus reminded that moral 
responsibility belongs to him -in all the relations of life. 2. Tends to promote 
the stability of society. Wihi and untamed passions, the indulgence of animal 
instincts without control, will keep any society of men in the lowest possible 
condition. It is only when the reason and conscience submit to the laws of 
God that man can exist in stn.ble society, or rise in the family of nations. Men 
are not to herd together as beasts, they must live together, otherwise they 
debase the dignity of human nature. They cannot form a society possessing 
strength and nobility, unless they acknowledge that the relations of life rest 
upon something out of sight. They are ultimately spiritual relations. There 
is no real progress for man, unless in all the relations of life he acknowledges 
the will of the Supreme Father. Marriage is the foundation of the family, 
and the family is the foundation of the State. 3. Promotes the tender charities 
of life. To this ordinance we owe the love of husband and wife, parent and 
child, and the play of all those affections that make home sacred. Whatever 
is noble and tender in natural instinct becomes enhanced and permanent when 
God is acknowledged in all the domestic relations of life. 

11. Provision for its sustenance (verse 3). In the history of the human 
creature the sustenance of life is the first consideration, though not the most 
important. It is necessary first to live before we can live well. " First that 
which is natural, and afterwards that which is spiritual," is the order of human 
progress, as it is the order in which we must supply the wants of our nature. 
Life is a flame that must be sustained by something outside of itself. No 
creature can live on its own blood. The physical life of man must be preserved 
by the ministry of other lives — animal, vegetable. For this end God has given 
man dominion over the earth, and especially over all other lives in it. We may 
regard this sustenance which God has provided for man's lower wants (1) as a 
reason, for gratitude. Our physical necessities are the most immediate, the 
most intimate to us. We should acknowledge the hand that provides fi)r them. 
We should feel how much we are beholden to God for our very life itself, upon 
which foundation even the highest blessings rest. The order of "thought requires 
that we thank God for our creation and preservation, even before we thank Him 
for His love to us in Christ Jesus. We may regard God's provision herein 
(2) as an example of the law of mediation. Man's life is preserved by the 
instrumentality of others. God's natural government of the world is carried on 
by means of mediation, from which we may infer that such is the principle of 
His moral government. That " bread of life " by which our .souls are sustained 
comes to us through a Mediator. Thus God's provisions for our common wants 
may be made a means of educating us in higher things. Nature has the .symbols 

163 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



and suggestions of spiritual trviths (3) as a ground for expecting greater 
blessings. If God made so rich and varied a provision to supply the necessities 
of the body, it was reasonable to expect that He would care and provide for the 
deeper necessities of the soul. Man was made in the image of God, and invested 
with dominion over the world. He is of the blood-royal of Heaven, and may be 
permitted to hope for those better things suitable to his high estate. God will 
surely maintain His own glory in caring for His image. If there be no provision 
for our souls, then would there be a strange break in the dealings of God with 
man, and a fatal gulf between Heaven and earth, 

III. Provision for its protection. Human life must be protected from dan- 
gerous enemies (verses 5, 6). There are evils against which no human foresight 
can provide, but there are many more from which we have abundant means of 
defending ourselves. Though the dominion of man over nature has limitations, 
yet it is real ; otherwise man could never have held his place against such 
tremendous obstacles. It is necessary that our physical life be protected — 1. 
From the ferocity of animals. From their numbers and strength, these would 
be formidable enemies. They increase rapidly and exist in external conditions 
against which the natural weakness of man could not contend. Their time of 
utter helplessness in infancy is short, they soon become independent of their 
fellows, they are provided with clothing and weapons of defence and attack. 

" Hale are their young, from human frailties freed, 
Walk unsustained or unsupported feed ; 
Bound o'er the lawn, or seek the distant glade, 
And find a home in each delightful shade." 

Man, on the other hand, passes through a long period of weakness and entire 
dependence upon others, requires artificial clothing to shelter him from the cold. 
He is not provided by nature with any formidable weapons for his defence ; 
yet subdues all things, captures other animals for his food, compels them to 
perform his work, or tames them to make him sport. Man, inferior in every 
physical quality and advantage, reigns over them by his superior reason. The 
force of intellect, by directing and controlling all other forces, maintains his 
pre-eminence. The lower animals acknowledge his majesty in fear and dread. 
The Providence of God preserves the balance of power, in a wonderful manner, 
between man and the lower animals. Man has the Divine sanction for protec- 
ting himself against their ferocity. He is commanded to avenge the life of his 
fellow upon them. It is lawful for him to seek their extermination, should they 
become dangerous to his existence. Human life must be held sacred, and its 
rights vindicated, even when they are invaded by a blind ferocity. 2. From 
the violence of evil men. Sinners were destroyed by the flood, yet sin remained 
in the human family. The evils of our nature were too deeply seated to be 
cleansed away even by so dire a judgment. It was contemplated that in this 
new humanity evil passions would arise, and drive men to deeds of violence 
against their fellows. God would require, judicially, the blood of man at the 
hands of him who shed it, and has given authority to man to execute His 
vengeance. In this permission and command there may be a remembrance of 
Cain, who did the first murder. The new society must be protected by holding 
a terrible penalty over murderers. The Bible does not indulge in poetical 
theories of human nature, but soberly acknowledges all its most terrible facts. 

IV. Provisioii for its Morality. Without morality society cannot be stable, 
exist in comfort, or make progress. Nations having the highest resources of 
talent, power, and wealth, have yet been destroyed by their^ own corruptions. 
The new humanity must have laws of right conduct, and sufficient penalties to 
enforce them ; else it could not continue in prosperity, or rise to higher things. 

164 



CHAP. IX. EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



The inbred corruption of human nature, its fierce passions, imperfections, and 
frailties, demanded the restraint of kxw. Here, however, we have not so much 
the external command as (what might be called) the material and principle of 
law. We have the ethics of human conduct not settled into formulated state- 
ments, but held in solution. The aim is to attack the evils of society in their 
roots, to give ennobling views of human nature, and to create a sufficient 
authority on the side of order and good. 1. Hence the tendency to cruelty was 
to he rejjressed. They were not to eat the blood of animals. The prohibition 
was necessarj'' to preserve men from acquiring savage tastes, and practising gross 
and revolting forms of cruelty. This would be one of the effects of the com- 
mand to abstain from the use of blood, though it is probable that a higher lesson 
was intended. All that tends to repress cruelty greatly modifies the evils of 
depravity, is on the side of goodness, and strengthens the charities of the heart. 
Cruelty imparts a terrible momentum to evil, until that which is sad and 
pitiable becomes monstrous and horrible. When men are seized by this demon 
of cruelty, they go rapidly to the extremest verge of sin and crime. Hence to 
forbid what may lead to cruelty is a wise provision to preserve moralitj^ 2. They 
ivere to remembe)' the fact of mutual brotherhood. " At the hand of every man's 
brother." God was the universal Father, and the human race was His family. 
Every man was to see in every other a brother. The recognition of this fact 
would be a fruitful source of goodwill towards all, and a promoter of social 
order and morality. No deed of violence, cruelty, or wrong could be done 
where there was a full and real knowledge of this truth. This conviction of our 
common brotherhood is so disguised, overlaid, and silenced by the depravity 
within and around us that it is comparatively weak as a restraint on the evils 
of the world. It can only be clear and come to strength and efficacy when 
we read it in the light of our Lord's redeeming work. Men cannot have true 
union with one another until they have union with God through His Son. The 
hand has no direct connection with the foot, but each is connected with one 
centre of life. The unity of the body is thus maintained, and so it must be 
with the members of the human family. There will be no perfect union until 
they all partake of one spiritual life. Still, the fact of human brotherhood 
prepares the way for this sublime issue, and helps us to rise to the thought of 
it. The tie that really binds men together must be spiritual. 3. Morality 
was to be protected by authority armed ivith penalties. (Ver. 6.) Society was 
empowered to punish crimes committed against itself. The whole community, 
by means of appointed and responsible persons, must avenge the wrong done to 
any of the individuals of which it is composed. Here we have the punishment 
to be inflicted upon those who commit the highest offence against society. 
Hence the origin and use of the civil magistrate. The community should be 
■on the side of right and justice, and against violence and wrong. But, for the 
sake of convenience, it is necessary that this feeling should be represented and 
the duties belonging to it carried out by the officers of the law. They repre- 
sent the authority of God, and the just feeling of society. Nations could not 
exist with the stability and privileges of civil life without a government strong 
enough to enforce the laws. The form of government is a human ordinance, 
arising out of the necessities of life and moulded by the events of political 
Ihistory, but the end of government is of Divine appointment. By requiring so 
terrible a penalty from him who sheds the blood of man, God has given His 
sanction to the office of the civil magistrate. Such deal with offences against 
morality in the form of crime, or of evils affecting the comfort and well-being of 
society. In the present condition of mankind, teaching and moral suasion are 
insufficient to preserve public peace and order. There must be an authority, 
which is to be feared by evildoers. God sets His seal upon human institutions 
^which have the safety and well-being of mankind for their object. Hence in 

165 



nOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



this new beginning of the race, He directs that men shall protect themselves' 
against all deeds of injustice and violence. 

V. Provision for its Religion. Something more must be considered than the 
safety and prosperity of men regarded as inhabitants of tins world. Man needs 
a religion, for he is conscious of relations witli a higher world. We have here 
the outlines of certain religious truths, which compel us to refer the principles 
of conduct and the foundation of authority ultimately to God. They were also 
intended to prepare humanity for the superior light of a later revelation. 
1. Mankind ivere to he educated to the idea of sacrifice. (Ver. 4.) Blood was. 
forbidden as a separate article of food. Men were to be taught to regard it as a 
sacred thing, so that they might be prepared for the fact that God had set it 
apart as the symbol of expiation. The education of humanity is a slow process, 
and in its earlier stages it was necessary that men should attain to the know- 
ledge of the deep truths of religion by the aid of outward symbols. Pictures 
and illustrations of truth were suitable to the childhood of the world. Mankind 
were first to see the form and appearance of truth before they could examine its 
structure, or know its essence. The sanctity of blood prepared the way for the 
rites of sacrifice, and sacrifice taught the sinfulness of sin and the necessity of 
some Divine expedient for restoring man to the favour of God. It also suggested 
man's superior relation to God and to the spiritual world. If man were not 
accountable to his Maker when this life is ended, why should he be taught the 
necessity of being purged from sin ? Surely God contemplated a creature who, 
when he had attained purity, might be fitted to dwell with Himself. 2. Man- 
kind were to he impressed ivith the true dignity of human nature. For the 
law concerning murder, there is the moral sanction arising from the brother- 
hood of man, but there is also the .religious sanction founded upon the 
fact that he was made in the image of God. The sublime truths of revela- 
tion must be regarded as extravagant, unless we suppose them addressed 
to a creatiire having such dignity. Mankind were to be early impressed 
with the idea of their high and noble origin in order that they might be 
prepared for the successive advances of God's kindness. The gifts of God, 
however great they may be, cannot be unsuitable to a being made in His 
image. From this fact we gather — 1. That man has the capacity for religion. 
The image of God in him is greatly defaced, but it is not destroyed. He has the 
capacity for knowing God, for understanding his own responsibility, and feeling 
after the spiritual world. By this he is distinguished from, and placed far 
above, all other lives on the earth. There is something in man that answers to 
the voice of God and the suggestions of inspiration. 2. That man is destined 
for another life. To partake of the image of God is to partake of immortality. 
God, who has made and fashioned us in His likeness, will have respect to the 
work of His own hands, and will not suffer us to be destroyed in the grave. 3. 
Mankind must he taught to refer all authority and rule ultimately to God. 
The civil magistrate was to be invested with authority and power to punish the 
crime of murder by the infliction of the death penalty. The assigned reason is, 
man was made in the image of God. Thus all human authority, for its founda- 
tion and warrant, is cast ultimately on God. Fveligion is the life of all progress. 
Every question concerning the interests of mankind resolves itself, in the end, 
into a question of religion. Here are the only noble and sufficient impulses, 
motives, and sanctions of all the activities and aims of human life. Man must 
realise the full significance of his relations to God, that he might be fitted to 
occupy his position as the appointed ruler of the world. 



166 



HO MI LET I C COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verse 1. God gives his benediction 
at every great crisis in the history of 
mankind. Thus at the creation of 
man (Gen. i. 28). Even when He sent 
forth His " fiery law," He loved the 
people and gave His blessing (Deut. 
xxxiii. 2, 3). When the Messiah came, 
the blessing became more definite and 
plentiful. 

At every great epoch of human his- 
tory, Gods shows some sign of His 
favour to the race. 

God's blessing goes before His com- 
mands. J\len must have the light of 
His favour before they can serve Him. 
Religion would be altogether impos- 
sible did not the grace of God go 
before men and lead the way. 

This was the blessing of a Father, 
for it was spoken to His offspring. 
Given to rational beings, it implied 
duties which the righteous Father 
requires of His children. 

God is the source of all paternity. 
Every society in heaven and earth 
must acknowledge Him as their origin 
— their Father. They were begotten 
by His gracious will (John i. 13). 

As the old blessing is repeated, so is 
the old command to be " fruitful and 
multiply." God intends a human his- 
tory, and thus provides for the con- 
tinuity of the life of the race, without 
which history would be impossible. 

In this text the marriage state is 
praised and celebrated, since thereout 
flows not only the order of the family 
and the world, but also the existence 
of the Church. — (Lange.) 

The earth was to be overcome by 
the diffusion of human life over it. 
Hence learn the energy of spiritual 
life, which is a power to conquer and 
subdue all opposition. 

Man's place on earth is appointed 
by his Heavenly Father, who disdains 
not to give him direction for the lowest 
as well as the highest duties ; for this 
world, and that which is to come. 

Fruitfulness is another blessing of 
this stage. Just as in creation, when 
the third day rose, and the waters were 
restrained, the earth was made fruitful ; 



so now in Noah, the third great stage 
in man, the flood being passed, man 
increases wonderfully. " Except the 
corn of wheat fall into the ground and 
die, it abideth alone ; but if it die, it 
bringeth forth much fruit " (John xii. 
24). Now having died to the world 
by the cross, and the evil fruits which 
grow out of old Adam being judged 
by tiie overflowing waters, the new 
man within increases yet more. Being- 
purged, he brings forth much fruit. — 
{Jukes, Types of Genesis.) 

The greatest desolations in the world 
cannot hinder God from having a 
people. — (Hughes.) 

Tile grant of increase is the same 
as at first, but expressed in ampler 
terms. — (Murphy.) 

Verse 2. Human reason, fruitful as 
it is in resources of skill and contri- 
vance, would not by itself secure the 
complete subjection of the lower 
animals. Man could not maintain his 
sovereignty unless they were weakened 
by dread and felt an awe of his majesty. 

It is often God's plan to work by an 
internal power upon the nature of His 
creatures as well as by influences I'rom 
without. 

To be compelled to rule by fear was 
a sign that man was now out of 
harmony with nature. This is one of 
the jarring notes of discord which sin 
has introduced. 

Enmity is put between fallen man 
and all the brute creatures, as well as 
the serpent. But though they are so 
greatly superior in strength, their 
instinct is commonly to flee from the 
presence of man. If it were not so, 
how full of terror would man be in 
new settlements, where civilised society 
crowds iipon the wilderness tribes. — 
(Jacobus.) _ J, 

"Into your hand are they delivered. 
Man does not wear an empty title of 
sovereignty. A real dominion is con- 
veyed to him. . . 

The Scripture everywhere raaintanis 
the lordsliip of man. He is tlie central 
figure, all things deriving tlieir worth 
° 167 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. IS. 



and excellence from the relations in 
which they stand to him. Hence the 
Bible is not a history of external nature, 
but of man. 

This dominion, as granted to the 
first Adam and renewed to Noah, was 
in itself limited and conditional, such 
as is fit to grant to sinners. As granted 
to the second Adam, He that is the 
Lord from heaven, under that man's 
feet God hath put all things (Heb. ii. 
6-9 ; 1 Cor. xv. 27). This is given to 
Christ as Mediating Lord, and by Him 
is sanctified to His members ; so the 
covenant renewed to Noah includes 
some special blessings in this dominion 
unto the Church, as it refers to the 
promised seed, the ground of all God's 
gracious promises and revelations unto 
His people. — {Hughes.) 

God will, as it were, make a covenant 
for him with the beasts of the field, and 
they shall be at peace wdth him, or at 
least shall be awed by his authority. 
All this is out of respect to the media- 
tion of Christ, and for the accomplishing 
of the designs of mercy through Him. — 
{Fuller.) 

Verse 3. Physical life must be sus- 
tained by other lives of flesh and blood ; 
mental, by the life of other minds; spiri- 
tual, by the infusion of the life of God. 

God prepares a table for His family. 
Having granted the greater blessing, 
He will not withhold the lesser. He 
who gave life will give all that is 
necessary for its maintenance. 

The daily supply of our common 
wants is now part of the established 
order of things. We are in danger of 
regarding it as a matter of course, and 
not calling for any special recognition. 
Yet we should realise the fact that 
these are gifts of God, and receive them 
as if they came fresh from His hand. 
The manna, though it came regularly 
every day, was yet given from heaven. 

By the slaying of animals for food, 
men would grow familiar with the 
thought that life is preserved by death. 
They would be prepared for the doc- 
trine of the atonement, where the 
death of the Divine victim procures 
the life of the world. 
168 



The grant of sustenance is no longer 
confined to the vegetable, but extended 
to the animal kinds, with two solemn 
restrictions. This explains how fully 
the animals are handed over to the 
will of man. They were slain for sacri- 
fice from the earliest times. Whether 
they were used for food before that 
time we are not informed. But now 
every creeper that is alive is granted 
for food. Every creeper is every thing 
that moves with the body prone to the 
earth, and therefore in a creeping 
posture. This seems to describe the 
inferior animals in contradistinction to 
man, who walks erect. The phrase 
that is alive seems to exclude animals 
that have died a natural death from 
being used as food. — {Murphy.) 

Verse 4. Li the largest rights 
granted to man God reserves some- 
thing to Himself He maintains some 
supreme rights, and grants liberty 
with wholesome restraints. 

It is God's design to invest the seat 
of life with peculiar sacredness ; to 
encourage that mysterious awe with 
which all life should be regarded. 

The basis of life is still the most 
perplexing inquiry of philosophy. 
Human science fails to bridge over the 
chasm between physical organisms and 
the facts of volition and consciousness. 
It would seem that God has thrown 
around the whole subject the sacred- 
ness of mystery. 

As the people were to be trained to 
great leading ideas of sin and salva- 
tion by means of these ritual ordi- 
nances, so they were to be taught of a 
special sanctity attaching ho blood m 
the system of Divine grace. " For 
without shedding of blood is no 
remission " (Heb. ix. 22). The natural 
horror of blood which obtains among 
men is evidence of such a Divine regu- 
lation. — (Jacobus.) 

As life, must the life of the beast go 
back to God its Creator ; or, as life in 
the victim offered in sacrifice, it must 
become a symbol that the soul of man 
belongs to God, though man may par- 
take of the animal materiality, that is, 
the flesh. — (Lange.) 



CHAP. IX. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Blood is the life, and God seems to 
claim it as sacred to Himself. Hence, 
in all the sacrifices the blood was 
poured out before the Lord : and in 
the sacrifice of Christ, He shed His 
blood, or poured out His soul unto 
death. — (Fuller.) 

Verse 5. Justice is not a mere ab- 
straction, but a reality in the Divine 
nature, making demands upon the 
transgressor which must be satisfied, 
either by the provisions of grace, or by 
the exaction of penalty. Justice is 
made terribly real by the personality 
of God, the " one Lawgiver, who is able 
to save and to destroy." (James iv. 
12.) " I will require." 

The awful punishment for murder 
proclaims the sacredness of human life. 

The principle is here approved that 
the safety of society must be secured 
at whatever cost to the individual. 

The life of man was to be required 
judicially at the hands of irrational 
animals, though they must be ignorant 
of the moral aspects of their actions. 
Hence man has the right to extermi- 
nate them should it be necessary to 
the safety and welfare of society. 

The civil magistrate is an ordinance 
of God, not an expedient of man to 
meet the necessities of society. We 
have reason to believe that the first 
ideas of law, order, and civilisation 
were the result of Divine teaching. 
Men have never risen from the savage 
state by any internal power, but have 
always been helped from without. A 
boat cannot be propelled by the 
strength of a man exerted within it 
— since action is always equal to re- 
action — the oar must press upon a 
fulcrum outside of it. \i\ like manner, 
man, if he will make any progress, 
must have some fulcrum outside of 
himself. 

This ordinance of the civil magis- 
trate had not existed before this time. 
Rom. xiii. 4. From this preliminary 
legislation the synagogue has derived 
" the seven Noachic precepts," which 
were held to be obligatory upon all 
proselytes. These forbid (1) Idolatry. 
(2) Blasphemy. (3) Murder. (4) In- 



cest. (5) Theft. _ (6) Eating of blood 
and strangled animals. (7) Disobedi- 
ence to magistrates. (Jacobus.) 

The brotherhood of man ought to 
be a sufficient guard of morality ; but 
the sense of it in humanity is too weak 
to be effectual without the aid of re- 
ligion, teaching, as it does, the highest 
form of that fact. 

By thus reminding those who intend 
an injury to others of the common 
brotherhood of the race, there is an 
appeal to what is noble in human 
nature, which is anterior to the threat 
of law. We have here the suggestion 
and prophecy of those purer and nobler 
principles of action to which God is 
gradually leading up mankind. Moral 
principles are before the forms of law 
and shall survive them. 

"I will require it." The trebling 
of the expression notes the intention of 
care which God hath over the life of 
man. — {Hughes.) 

I, the Lord, will find the murderer 
out and exact the penalty of his crime. 
The very beast that causes the death 
of man shall be slain. The suicide 
and the homicide are alike account- 
able to God for the shedding of man's 
blood. — {Muiyhy.) 

Verse 6. Here we have no pleasing 
dream of an ideal humanity. It is 
contemplated that the crime of murder 
would be committed. 

The State must be founded upon 
justice, and in human society justice 
can only be maintained by punishment. 

Punishment, though it may act as a 
deterrent, or as a means of improve- 
ment, must yet in itself be regarded as 
the upholding of justice against dis- 
obedience, the natural reaction of 
justice against its violation. 

Those who are appointed to ad- 
minister the law, and make effectual 
the sanctions of it, have a duty to do 
for society in the name of God. 

Murder is the most extreme viola- 
tion of the brotherly relation of man- 
kind, and is to be punished accordingly. 
The penal power, attributable to God 
alone, is here committed to the hands 
of man. — (Delitzsche.) 

169 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



This image of God, in wliicli man 
was first formed, so belongs even to 
fallen man that such wilful destruction 
of human life is to be regarded as a 
crime against the Divine majesty, thus 
imaged in man. — (Jacobus.) 

Capital punishmen t has been objected 
to on the ground that, as life is the 
gift of God, we have no right to take 
it away. But the real conflict here is 
between the sacredness of individual 
life and that of society. The question 
is not whether there shall be death, 
but whether society shall inflict it ? 

However expedient it may be to 
visit the crime of murder with the ex- 
treme penalty, yet the more excellent 
way, in which the spirit of the Chris- 
tian religion leads, is to teach the 
sacredness of human life. 

The image of God in man must be 
held as a constant fact, invariable in 
its essentials through all the changes 
of his moral history, and through all 
the mystery of his future. This fact 
has a bearing upon (1) the question of 
human depravity. Man is not alto- 
gether evil. The image of God in him 
is only defaced, not destroyed. There 
is something in his nature to which 
religion can make an appeal, otherwise 
he would be incapable of it. There 
must be something in the soul ansAver- 
ing to trxith and goodness. 2. Upon 
the conversion of the soul. That great 
spiritual crisis in a man's life destroys 
none of his natural powers, but only 
directs them into new channels, and 
exalts their energy. The image of God 
is brought out more clearly and per- 
fectly. 3. Upon immortality. Man 
was made in the image of God, and, 
therefore, in the image of His immor- 
tality, God will not suffer a spark of 
Himself to see corruption. The Gospel 
finds, but does not make, men immortal. 
4. Upon wrongs done to our fellow 
creatures. He who sins against a man 



sins against God, to whose image he 
does dishonour. In an especial man- 
ner he does so who sins against a child, 
where the image of God is fresh and 
new. Hence our Lord pronounces a 
heavy woe upon all who lay a stumbling- 
block in their way. 

The first law promulgated in Scrip- 
ture was that between Creator and 
creature. , , . And so it continued to 
be in the antediluvian world. No civil 
law is on record for the restriction of 
crime. ... So long as the law was 
between Creator and creature, God 
Himself was not only the sole legislator, 
but the sole administrator of the law. 
The second law is that between creature 
and creature .... In the former case 
God is the administrator of the law, 
as He is the immediate and sovereign 
party in the legal compact. In the 
latter case, man is, by the express 
ai^pointment of the Lord of all, consti- 
tuted the executive agent. — {Murphy.) 

Verse 7. An apparent repetition of 
verse 1, but with the added idea that 
the earth affords the necessary condi- 
tions for the multiplication of the race. 
The life of the earth is to be trans- 
formed into the life of man. The 
earth is the fruitful mother of man- 
kind, both prefiguring and maintaining 
their fruitfulness. 

How great is man, touching, as he 
does, the dust at one extremity and 
God at the other ! He joins earth 
and heaven, frailty and immortal 
strength, brief life, and the da}'' of 
eternity ! 

The command to multiply is re- 
peated, and contains permission, not 
of promiscuous intercourse, like the 
brutes, but of honourable marriage. 
The same law which forbade the eating 
of blood, under the Gospel, forbade 
fornication. — {Fuller.) 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH— Verses 8—17. 

God's Covenant with the New Humanity. 

^ God makes a covenant with Noah as the head of the new race, and also with 
his sons, to show that it includes the whole human family. This is the first 
170 



no MI LET IC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



covenant made with mankind in distinct terms ; that made with Adam bein"' 
imphed, rather than formally indicated, by the relationship in which he stood 
to God. Now, a terrible Divine judgment upon human sin had intervened, so 
that God's dealings with man expressed themselves with suitable enlargements 
and circumstances. The moral necessities of man call for fresh revelations and 
provisions of Divine mercy. God meets man in an especial manner at every 
great moral crisis of human history. Of this covenant we may observe : — 

I. It was a covenant originating with God Himself. The usual meaning of 
a covenant is that it is a compact entered into by two parties, with engagements 
on both sides, and ratified in solemn form. But here it signifies God's gracious 
promises to men, whereby He engages to grant them certain blessings on His 
own terms. While He is gracious towards sinners, God retains His prerogatives, 
and magnifies His glory. This covenant was not made at man's suggestion, nor 
accommodated to his terms. It was originated and framed by God alone. 
1, 3Ie7i have no right to dictate to God. He cannot deal with men on precisely 
the same terms on which men can deal with one another. The creature belongs 
to God, and must be content to receive whatever His goodness pleases to bestow. 
The case is still stronger when the creature has fallen, and can only stand in the 
position of a suppliant for mercy. When angels bow in silence, sinners must lie 
humbled in the dust. 2. God reserves the power to bestow goodness. Men are abso- 
lutely helpless in those things which concern their real life and supreme interest. 
They must perish in the consequences of their own sin, unless God interferes and 
stretches forth His hand to save. Man learns, sooner or later, that the great 
issues of his life are in the hands of God. This oppression of inability is 
intended to tame the wildness and presumption of man's nature, and to cast 
him entirely upon God. 3. I'he character of God leads us to expect the advances 
of His goodness towards men. Power by itself is a tei-rible attribute ; admirable, 
but alarming. But power, when engaged on the side of mercy and love, gives 
encouragement and hope. The forces of nature impress us with a crushing 
sense of power, and the only refuge we have is in that infinite heart of goodness 
which lies behind them. From what we know of God's character, we may 
expect much from the gilts of His goodness. We may also, from His past dealings 
with the race, learn to trust His mercy. He had spared these eight souls, and 
this was a pledge that He would still be gracious, and that the resources of His 
mercy would not be overtasked by human sin. 4. When God enters into covenant 
with His creatures He binds Himself. God is infinite, yet for the sake of His 
creatures He condescends to bind Himself to certain courses of action. This 
He does, not as constrained by necessity or moved by caprice, but of His own 
free will and by the direction of His infinite reason. Creation itself was a 
limitation of God ; it cannot all express His greatness or His glory, for God 
must be greater than all He has made or ordained. As the will of man can be 
limited by his determination, so God's design to bless and save imposes in its 
measure a restriction upon Himself. Thus God suffers Himself to contract 
duties towards man. This bears upon (1.) The creation of rights in His 
creatures. If God did not thus limit Himself, His creatures could have no 
rights, for they can enjoy no good but as He gives ; and this is determined by 
His pleasure, and His pleasure binds Him when once expressed. God allows 
His creatures to have rights, which is in effect the passing over to_ them a 
portion of His own independence. (2.) The possibility of man's sin being borne 
ivith. God, in a moment, could silence all rebellion, but He gives promises 
which bind Him to delay punishment, or to devise means for restoration to His 
favour. Thus when the highest justice might take its course. He still bears with 
man's sin ; for He has determined that His dealings shall take the course of 
mercy. 3. The preservation of general laivs for the benefit of men. The laws 

171 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. chap. ix. 



of nature preserve certain rights of man, ensure his safety, and minister to his 
enjoyment. The laws of the spiritual world concern him as he is a responsible 
creature and a candidate for immortality. If he will conform to the will of God 
these will further and secure his most lasting interests. Yet in ordaining these 
laws God binds Himself towards His creatures. How gracious is the purpose of 
God when He thus suffers Himself to be limited by the measures of man's 
necessity ! 

II. It was a Covenant of Forbearance (Verses 11, 15). This covenant was 
simply a promise that God would not destroy the world of His creatures any 
more by means of a flood. He would not, until the consummation of all things, 
visit sin again by such an universal calamity of punishment. Here we have 
the forbearance of God. Severe judgments had been inflicted upon mankind, 
and now God promises the new race that His patience will not be exhausted 
while man remains upon the earth. 1. This was an act ofjmre grace. It has 
been said that man in Eden was under the covenant of works. This is not true, 
for no creature could be placed strictly in such a condition. Man was always 
under the covenant of grace ; for whatever he possessed, or whatever he was 
permitted to do or enjoy, was possible to him only through the favour of God. 
The sin of man calls for fresh provisions, but they all come from grace. The 
forbearance of God is one particular form which His grace assumes toward 
mankind. 2. Human history is a long comment upon the forbearance of 
God (Rom. iii. 26 ; Acts xiv. 15). In the history of mankind, how much 
would arise to provoke continually the Divine displeasure ! _ Yet, God 
would withhold Himself from destroying mankind as He did by the 
flood. His judgments, however severe, would not reach this awful 
limit. The contemplation of the sin of the world is a pain and distress to 
a good man, often awakening a holy zeal which prays that God might arise and 
scatter His enemies, that He might avenge the wrongs which sinners have 
inflicted upon the meek of the earth. Yet man's knowledge of the world's evil 
is limited, and therefore his sense of it imperfect. How much indignation against 
sin must a holy God feel who sees the iniquity of all times and places, and knows 
all the dark things of the heart and life ! If history reveals the sin of man, it 
also reveals the forbearance of God. 3. This forbearance of God was uncon- 
ditional. It was not a command relating to conduct, but a statement of God's 
gracious will towards mankind. This is evident from the subjects of it, some of 
whom are irresponsible and unconscious of any relations to God. Not only men 
capable of exercising reason, but infants also, and even the earth itself are 
included in this covenant. Still, though unconditional, God's gracious dealings 
were intended to evoke piety and devotion. 3. This forbearance ^ throws some 
light upon the permission of evil. We ask, why does God permit evil to exert its 
terrible power through all ages ? Oui only answer is that His mercy triumphs 
over judgment. God bound Himself by a promise to continue the present course 
of nature and of His dealings, notwithstanding the persistence and awful develop- 
ments of human sin. This indicates a leaning in the Divine Nature towards 
tenderness and compassion. Evil is permitted that greater good might arise, and 
that God might magnify His mercy. God's forbearance has a moral end in view 
— to lead men to repentance. It is His gracious purpose to allow sufficient time 
for the maintenance and issues of the conflict between good and evil, truth 
and error. 

III. It was a covenant which, in the form and sign of it, was graciously 
adapted to man's condition- Man was weak and heJpless, his sense of spiritual 
things blunted and impaired by sin. He was not ^ble to appreciate Divine 
truth in its pure and native form. God must speak to hiym by signs and symbols, 

172 

\ 



CHAP. IX. HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



and encourage him by promises of temporal blessing. In this way alone he can 
rise from sensible things to spiritual, and from earthly good to the endurino- 
treasures of heaven. In the form and sign of this covenant, we discover the 
Divine condescension to a creature of narrow range, materialised ideas, and a 
gross way of thinking. The great God speaks in human language, as if limiting 
Himself by man's weakness and ignorance. He allows men to conceive of Hiin 
in the forms and limitations of their own thought and being. We must thus 
think of God, in a greater or less degree, until " that which is perfect is come." 
In the education of mankind the spiritual must come last. God accommodates 
Himself to man's condition, and deals with him in ways having reserves of 
meaning, which they give up to him as he is able to receive. 1. The terms of 
the covenant refer to the averting of temporal punishment, but suggest the "promise 
of higher things. The determination that the earth should be no more de- 
stroyed by a flood showed a tendency in the Divine mercy, from which greater 
things might be hoped. It seemed to encourage the expectation that God would 
be ready to save men from a more awful doom, and swallow up the worst 
penalties of sin in His own love. It may reconcile us to the permission of evil, 
that there are remedies in the grace of God. The huiuan race was not now 
ripe for the full revelation of God's mercy. It was necessary, therefore, to give 
mankind such a sense of it as they could feel and understand. By a long and 
weary journey must they be led to this promised land. 2. The sign of the covenant 
was outivard, hut full of deep and precious meaning. Covenants were certified 
by signs or tokens, such as a heap or pillar, or a gift (Gen. xxxi. 52 ; xxi. 30), 
The starry night was the sign of the promise to Abraham (Gen. xv). Here, the 
sign of the covenant was the rainbow ; a sign beautiful in itself, calculated to 
attract attention, and most fitting to teach the fact of God's constancy, and to 
encourage the largest hopes from His love. All this was an education for man, 
so that he might adore and hope for the Divine mercy. 1. Mankind tve7'e to be 
educated through the beautiful. From the works of nature, men could learn 
lessons of the faithfulness and constancy of God ; but there are certain features 
of His character which can only be learned through beauty. He who is perfect 
and holy is full of loveliness, and whatever is beautiful helps us to rise to the 
thought of it. Something more is necessary than the bare knowledge of 
spiritual truth, the soul must be filled with admiration and delight. The sense 
of beauty helps a man to rise out of himself, lifts him from all that is mean 
and unworthy, and prepares him for the scenes of grander worlds. He learns 
to look upon sin as a deformity, and upon God as beauty and love itself. The 
loveliness around us is so much of heaven on earth, as if that other world did 
not merely touch, but even overlap this. The beauty of the rainbow helped 
men to thoughts of heav^en. 2. Mankind were to be taught the symbolic mean- 
ing of nature. All nature is a mighty parable of spiritual truth. Man puts 
meaning into things around him, and as his mind enlarges and his heart 
improves they give forth their meaning more plentifully, and strengthen his 
expectation of better things. They impart instruction, consolation, and hope, 
according to the soul which receives. It is scarcely a figure of speech that all 
things arise and praise God, for they embody His ideas, represent His truth, 
and show forth His glory. 3. Mankind were to be taught that God is greater than 
nature. The creature, however beautiful, or capable of inspiring awe and 
grandeur, must not be deified. This was God's bow, not Himself. God is 
separate from nature, and greater than it ; a living personality above all 
things created. If we could pursue nature to its furthest verge, we should find 
that we could not thus enclose and limit God ; He would still retire into the 
habitation of eternity ! (4.) 3Jankind were to be taught to recognise a predding 
mind in all the phenomena of nature. " My bow." God calls it His own, as 
designed and appointed by Him. It can, indeed, be accounted for by natural 

173 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



causes, Science can explain how these seven rich and radiant stripes of colour 
are painted on the Avaters of the sky. Yet these laws of nature are but another 
name for the regular working of an Infinite Mind. God still upholds and guides 
all things ; the numbers, weights, and measures whereof are with Him. There 
is no resting place for our mind and heart in second causes ; we must come at 
last to a spiritual and intellectual subsistence — to a living personality. Nature 
without this view becomes a ruthless machine. (5.) Man teas to be assured 
that the mercy of God is equal to his extremity. He will remember men for 
good in their greatest calamities and dangers. " I will look upon it that I may 
remember.'' Such woi'ds are accommodated to our ignorance and weakness, for 
the Infinite Memory has no need for such expedients. Such a device is out of 
tender consideration for us. Yet we may suppose that there is a sense in which 
God ma}^ be said to remember some things as standing out from the rest. He 
remembers the acts and signs of faith, the deeds of love. Not even a cup of 
cold water given in the name of His beloved Son can escape recognition. He 
who provides for all worlds, and sustains the mighty cares and interests of them, 
can yet stoop to the lowl)^, and puts the tears of His persecuted saints into His 
own bottle. In this appointed sign of the rainbow, the eye of man meets the 
eye of God. Men look to God from tlie depths of their calamity, and He looks 
to them and remembers the token of His mercy. The human and the Divine 
may meet in a symbol, which is a light held to the struggling soul, a comfort 
and an assurance. Such is the ordinance of the Lord's Supper. Some might 
say, Could not Christ have trusted unceasing devotion to Himself, to the love 
and spirituality of his followers ? Surely their knowledge of His character, and 
their zeal for Him, would never suffer them to forget Him ? But He knew the 
human heart better than to trust this to a purely spiritual feeling, and therefore 
appointed an outward sign. Here Christ and His people look upon one common 
object, e)^e meets eye, and heart unites with heart. Such symbols train men in 
spiritual ideas, they fix the heart and entertain it with delight, they render 
devotion easy. Man in this first stage of his education for higher worlds needs 
them, and will still find sweet uses in them until he dwells in the " new heavens 
and the new earth." Those aids from form and sight shall be no longer needed 
when the eye is entertained with the vision of God. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verse 8. God spake to Noali as the God who was able to do every word, 

head of his family, and therefore the 2. The hearers whom this concerned, 

representative of the whole human Noah and his sons with him. Such as 

race. could understand, to them only he 

God still speaks to mankind, not as speaketh, though the matter which he 

divided by separate interests, but as spake concerneth such as could not 

forming one family having the same understand, as infants and beasts. 3. 

superior and permanent interests. From The speech, which was intent and 

this family He is ever gathering pressing. He said in saying, that is, 

another, more exalted and select. He seriously and earnestly spake what 

united to Himself by the dearest ties followeth. — {Hughes.) 
of spiritual lilceness and genenition. 

A nation can never be wise and Verse 9. God enters into covenant 

great until the fixmilies of it hear and relations with Noah as the second 

obey the voice of God. The purity of head and father of the race, 
family life is the true defence and This covenant was not made until 

safety of the State. Noah, as a re])resentative of the new 

1. The speaker Elohim, the mighty humanity, had by sacrifice confessed 
174 



\ 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



his sin and signified liis hope of salva- 
tion. (Gen. viii. 20, 21.) It was a 
proof that his offering was accepted. 

God prevents man, with the blessings 
of His goodness, anticipating his desire 
and need ; yet that goodness is not 
dechared and revealed until man has 
felt his deep necessity. This covenant 
does hut express in due form wliat the 
love of God had long before intended. 

God's covenants siiow — 1. That He 
is willing to contract duties towards 
man. Man can therefore hope for and 
obtain that which he cannot claim as 
a right. Thus " Mercy rejoiceth 
against judgment." (James ii. 13.) 2. 
That man's duty has relation to a 
personal Lawgiver. There is no in- 
dependent morality. All human con- 
duct must ultimately be viewed in the 
light of God's requirements. 3. That 
man needs a special I'evelation of God's 
love. The light of nature is not 
sufficient to satisfy the longings of the 
soul and encourage hope. We require 
a distinct utterance — a sign from 
heaven. The vague sublimities of 
created things around us are unsatis- 
fying, we need the assurance that 
behind all there is a heart of infinite 
compassion. 4. That every new reve- 
lation of God's character implies cor- 
responding duties on the part of man. 
The progress of revelation has refined 
and exalted the principle of duty, 
until man herein is equal unto the 
angels, and learns to do " all for love, 
and nothing for reward." 

" With your seed after you." God's 
promises extend to the latest hour of 
human history ; they encourage us to 
expect a bright future for the race. 
Let us not indulge in any melancholy 
or depressing views, but wait in 
patience and hope until these pro- 
mises have yielded all their wealth. 

My Covenant. The covenant which 
was before mentioned to Noah in the 
directions concerning the making of the 
ark, and which was really, though 
tacitly, formed with Adam in the gar- 
den. — (Murphy.) 

We see here (1) the mercy and good- 
ness of God, in proceeding with us in 
a way of covenant. He might have 



exempted the world from this calamity, 
and yet not have told them He would 
do so. The remembrance of the flood 
might have been a sword hanging over 
their heads in terrorem. But He will 
set their minds at rest on that score. 
Thus He deals with us in His Son. 
Being willing that the heirs of promise 
should have strong consolation. He 
confirms His word by an oath. (2) The 
importance of living under the light of 
revelation. Noah's posterity by de- 
grees sunk into idolatry, and became 
" strangers to the covenants of pro- 
mise." Such were our fathers for 
many ages, and such are great numbers 
to this day. (3) The importance of 
being believers. Without this, it will 
be worse for us thau if we had never 
been favoured with a revelation. (4) 
The kind of life which it was God's de- 
sign to encourage : a lije of faith. 
" The just shall live by faith.''' "if He 
had made no revelation of Himself, no 
covenants, and no promises, there would 
be no ground for faith ; and we must 
have gone through life feeling after 
Him without being able to find Him : 
but having made known His mind, 
there is light in all our dwellings, and 
a sure ground for believing not only in 
our exemption from another flood, but 
in things of far greater importance. — 
(Fuller.) 

Verse 10. As the flood destroyed 
all the animals who entered not into 
the ark, so they were interested Avith 
man in the terms of this Divine pro- 
mise. " The whole creation" is repre- 
sented by Paul as groaning and travail- 
ing in pain together in sympathy with 
the curse upon man (Rom. viii. 22), 
God, by the prophet, represents this 
covenant as confirmed by all the so- 
lemnit)^ of an oath. " I have sworn," 
etc. (Isa. liv. 9.) — (Jacobus.) 

God stands in certain relations to 
creatures who are entirely unconscious 
of them. What these relations are, 
we cannot fully know; but we may be 
assured that they exist. God will yet 
give a voice to the dumb agony of 
creation, and redeem the creature from 
that emptiness of all solid result in 

175 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



which all things, at present, seem to 
end. 

When man fell, there was a corre- 
sponding reduction along the whole 
scale of nature ; when he was restored 
to God's favour, the promise was given 
that there would be as far-reaching an 
extension of blessing. A covenant with 
man cannot concern him alone, for he 
is bound up with all nature under him 
as well as with all that is above him. 

God shows compassion for creaturely 
life upon the earth. 

Man is viewed in revelation both as 
he is connected with God and nature. 

Such as know not God's covenant 
may have apart in it. — {HtigJies). 

Verse 11. The covenant was reduced to 
a single provision, — that the judgment 
of such a flood should not again be 
visited upon mankind. Such was the 
simple form which the promise of God 
assumed in this infancy of the new 
humanity. Yet here was a Divine for- 
bearance which was a prophecy of 
better things, as it afforded scope for 
the deeds of mercy. 

The covenant of law, as given to the 
old man, is all " llwu sl/alt." So God 
to Adam said, " 77iou shalt not eat of 
it ; in the day thou eatest thoti shalt 
surely die : " and by Moses repeating 
the same covenant of law, each com- 
mand reiterates the same, " Thou'shalt." 
Such a covenant is all " of works." 
There is a command to be fulfilled by 
man, and, therefore, its validity depends 
upon man's part being performed as 
well as God's. Such a covenant cannot 
stand, for man ever fails in his part. 
Thus the covenant of law or works to 
man is only condemnation. But finding 
fault with this, the Lord saith, "I will 
make a new covenant," and this new 
covenant or gospel throughout says, 
not " Thou shalt," but " I will." It is 
"the promise," as says St. Paul to the 
Galatians. All that it requires is 
simple faith (Gal. iii. 16-29). _ "This 
is the covenant I will make in those 
days, saith the Lord ; I tvill put my 
laws in their hearts ; I tvill write them 
in their minds ; I tvill be merciful to 
their transgressions ; I tcill remember 
176 



their sins no more ; I will dwell in 
them ; I tvill walk in them." It is 
this " I will " which Noah now hears, 
and to which at this stage God adds 
" a token " set in heaven. — (Jukes : 
Types of Genesis.) 

This expresses also the security of 
the moral world against perishing in a 
deluge of anarchy, or in the floods 
of popular commotion (Ps, xciii). — 
(Lange.) 

Verse 12. Every covenant requires 
an outward sign or token, by Avhich God 
suffers Himself to be reminded of His 
promise. 

A token is needed to confirm our 
faith in that which was done in the 
past, and though it still abides with us 
in unworn energy of blessing, we need 
the aid of these things that we may 
recognise God. 

God does not leave men to general 
notions of, and vague expectations from 
His goodness. On fitting occasions in 
the world's history He certifies that 
goodness to them. 

Such tokens are instances of God's 
condescension to the weakness of man. 
This principle will account for much 
concerning the form in wliich revela- 
tion is given us. All such communi- 
cations from God miist be conditioned 
by the nature and capacity of him who 
receives. 

God's mind is to teach His Church 
by visible signs as well as by His 
Word. — {Hughes.) 

Verse 13. God made or constituted 
the rainbow to be the sign of His cove- 
nant, and therefore calls it " My bow." 
The covenant token, as well as the thing 
itself, was God's own. 

This token was made to appear in 
the clouds, because their gathering- 
together would strike terror in those 
who had witnessed the deluge ; or who 
would afterwards learn, by report, of 
that awful judgment. In the very 
danger itself, God often causes the sign 
of hope to appear. 

As it is the sun's rays shining through 
the rain drops that reflect this glowing 
image on the black cloud, so is it 



IIOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



also a fitting symbol of the Sun of 
liighteousness reflected, in His glorious 
attributes, upon the face of every dark 
and threatening dispensation towards 
His Church. — (Jacobus.) 

Men find their last refuge and hope 
in looking up to God, who fails not 
to comfort them with the token of 
mercy. 

The appointment of tlie sign of the 
covenant, or of the rainbow as God's 
bow of peace, whereby there is at the 
same time expressed — 1. Tiie elevation 
of men above the deification of the 
creature (since the rainbow is not a 
divinity but a sign of God, an appoint- 
ment which even idolatrous nations 
appear not to have wholly forgotten, 
when they denote it God's bridge, or 
God's messenger). 2. Their introduc- 
tion to the symbolic comprehension 
and interpretation of natural pheno- 
mena, even to the symbolising of forms 
and colours. 3. That God's compassion 
remembers men in their dangers. 4. 
The setting up of a sign of light and 
fire, which, along with its assurance 
that the earth will never be drowned 
again in water, indicates at the same 
time its future transformation through 
light and fire. — (Lange.) 

To the spiritual mind, all natural 
phenomena are God's revelation of 
Himself; each one of them answering 
to some other truth of His. 

The rainbow is an index that the 
sky is not wholly overcast, since the 
sun is shining through the shower, 
and thereby demonstrating its partial 
extent. There could not, therefore, be 
a more beautiful or fitting token. It 
comes with its mild radiance only when 
the cloud condenses into a shower. It 
consists of heavenly light; variegated 
in hue and mellowed in lustre, filling 
the beholder with an involuntary 
pleasure. It forms a perfect arch, 
extends as far as the shower extends, 
connects heaven and earth, and spans 
the horizon. In these respects it is a 
beautiful emblem of mercy rejoicing 
against judgment, a light from heaven 
irradiating and beatifying the soul, of 
grace always sufiicient for the need, 
of the reunion of earth and heaven. 



and of the universality of the offer of 
salvation. — (Marphy. ) 

An arch, cheering and bright, em- 
braces the firmament. On a scroll of 
variegated light there is inscribed — 
" These storms drop fertility : they 
break to bless and not to injure." — 
(Archdeacon Law : "Christ is All." ) 

Verse 14. The regularity with 
which the rainbow appears in the sun- 
shine after rain does not set aside the 
fact that it is brought to pass by the 
ever-living energy of the Creator. 
" When / bring," etc. 

A purely spiritual mind sees in all 
things in nature the working of a per- 
sonal will, and does not require that 
distinct evidence of it which a miracle 
supplies. 

Science deals with nature as a col- 
lection of facts, to be classified and 
explained as modes of the operation of 
general laws ; but the Bible only con- 
siders the religious idea of nature. 

The sun looks forth from the oppo- 
site skies. Its rays enter the descending 
drops, and returning to the eye in 
broken pencils, paint the bow on the 
illumined back-ground. Heaven dries 
up the tears of earth, and the high 
roof above seems to take up the Gospel 
hymn, " Glory to God in the highest, 
and on earth peace, goodwill towards 
men." — (Archdeacon Law : "Christ is 
Air) 

Verse 15. This token is for God as 
well as for man. God deigns here to 
appoint it as a remembrance to Him- 
self. " It is a bow (says Dr. Gill), yet 
without arrows, and pointed upwai-d 
to heaven, and not downward to the 
earth. " — (Jacobus). 

The following prayer, found in the 
Talmud, is directed to be recited upon 
every appearance of the rainbow : 
" Blessed be thou Jehovah our God, 
King of eternity, ever mindful of thy 
covenant, faithful in thy covenant, 
firm in thy word." 

When the Scripture says " God re- 
members," it means that we feel and 
are conscious that Pie remembers it, 
namely, when He outwardly presents 
R i77 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



Himself in such a manner, that we, 
tlierebjr, take notice that He tliinks 
thereon. Therefore it all comes to 
this : as I present myself to God, so 
does He present Himself to me. — 
(Luther.) 

We can only conceive of God 
through our human thoughts and 
feelings. In this way we obtain those 
consolatory views of His nature which 
we miss when we are ambitious of an 
over-refinement. 

When God appoints the sign of the 
covenant, He obliges Himself, or con- 
tracts the duty, to meet man there. 

How sacred are those symbols that 
may be said to arrest the glance of 
the Infinite eye — to concentrate the 
attention of God ! They give that 
reality to spiritual blessings which, in 
the mere processes of thought, would 
become a cold abstraction. 

The Scripture is most unhesitating 
and frank in ascribing to God all the 
attributes and exercises of personal 
freedom. While man looks on the 
bow to recall the promise of God, God 
Himself looks upon it to remember 
and perform this promise. Here free- 
dom and immutability of purpose 
meet. — {Murphy.) 

Verses 16, 17. It was to be au 
" everlasting covenant," — to last until 
it should be needed no more. 

If God looks upon the rainbow to 
remember, so should we, with a fresh 
sense of wonder and recognition of His 
presence. Faith in Him can alone 
prevent our losing this sense of wonder. 

Memorial was the chief purpose 
intended by this sign. In that early 
age of the world all was wonderful, 
for everything seemed fresh from God. 



Signs were not then intended to gene- 
rate faith, but to be a memorial of it. 

As the rainbow lights up the dark 
ground that just before was discharg- 
ing itself in flashes of lightning, it 
gives us an idea of the victory of God's 
love over the black and fiery wrath ; 
originating as it does from the effects 
of the sun upon the sable vault, it 
represents to the senses the readiness 
of the heavenly light to penetrate the 
earthly obscurity ; spanned between 
heaven and earth, it announces peace 
between God and man ; arching the 
horizon, it proclaims the all-embracing 
universality of the covenant of grace. 
{Delitzsche.) 

We could not know that God had 
appointed such a sign but for the in- 
spired record. Revelation is needed 
even to teach us the significance of 
nature. 

How can we render thanks enough 
for this superadded pearl in our 
diadem of encouragements ? We are 
thus led to look for our bow on the 
cloud of every threatening storm. In 
the \\orld of nature it is not always 
visible ; but in the world of grace 
it ever shines. When the darkest 
clouds thicken around us, the Sun of 
Righteousness is neither set nor has 
eclipse, and its ready smile converts 
the drops into an arch of peace 

In our journey through the wilder- 
ness, the horizon is often obscured by 
storms like these : terrors of con- 
science, — absence of peace, — harass- 
ing perplexities, — crushing burdens of 
difficulties. But from behind these 
dusky curtains, the bow strides forth 
in its strength. — {Archdeacon Law: 
" Christ is AIL") 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 18, 19. 

The Factors of Human Culture. 



Mankind have a common calling as human beings, to which we give the name 

of culture. This comprehends all influences from without that form the human 

character and create history. The world of mankind is a complex product 

which several elements have helped to form. The names of these progenitors of 

178 



CHAP. IS, EOMILETIO COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 

the new race are significant of great principles of thought and action, which have 
guided the progress and shaped the destinies of mankind. We have here those 
effective powers which have been at work throughout the whole course of liistory. 

I. Eelig'ion. This is represented by Shem, which signifies " the name," i.e. 
the name of God with all its fulness of meauing for man. The knowledge of 
that name was to be preserved through Shem, for without it the race must fail 
to reach its highest perfection. Shem is mentioned first because religion is the 
chief glory of man, the only source of his true greatness, and the only worthy 
end of his life. Without religion, man must be ignorant of his destiny and the 
ultimate aim of history. The knowledge and practice of it can alone redeem 
men from tlie vanity of their condition. Consider religion : — 1, As a system of 
thought. It has certain truths addressed to the intellect, heart, and conscience. 
Religion comprises — (1.) The knowledge of God. What God is in Himself is 
beyond our comprehension ; His nature eludes our furthest search, and retires 
into that eternity which He alone inhabits. But it is possible for us to know 
God in those relations in which He stands to ourselves. The revelation of His 
name has therefore an important meaning for mankind. All our duties, hopes, 
and destinies are bound up with it. Man must know God in this regard before 
the lost features of the Divine image in him can be restored. There is a know- 
ledge of God which is but a barren exercise of the mind, which regards the 
subject as merely curious and in no way connected with man's life. It is neces- 
sary that men should feel after God, and be conscious of Him as the Ever Near, 
God must be a felt reality, or there can be no true knowledge. To know God 
is to know the chief end of life, tliat ethical side of knowledge which the Scrip- 
ture calls wisdom. (2.) Meligion comprises the Knowledge of man. From it 
alone we can learn what man is in his nature and origin, what are his relations 
to God, his duties in the world, why he is here, and what is his prospect beyond 
life. Science may investigate the nature of man, and even prescribe his duties. 
It may minister to his prosperity in the world. But science only lights 
up the valleys of our nature ; the summits of it can only be illumined 
by a light from heaven. The contemplation of human nature apart from 
religion is gloomy and uncomfortable. The true hiowledge of ourselves is art 
essential part of religion. We must know ourselves as capable of God, and of 
all those great things for which He can fashion and prepare us. The religious 
idea of man is necessary to the true study of himself (3.) The knoivledge of things. 
Man has powers to observe the facts and appearances of nature, to reason upon 
them, and to reduce the results of his investigation to the systems of science. 
But the grandeur of this universe can never be truly felt and seen until we look 
at it through God, The things that are made are His thoughts ; they show 
forth His glory. True piety in the heart transforms creation into a mighty 
temple filled with the praises of its Maker. The study of things yields but a 
melancholy satisfaction if we do not see above them the Divine eye and heart. 
Religion raises all science to a higher truth. 2, As a rule of life. The truths 
of religion are not intended merely to give us right thoughts of God and our 
condition here, but also to teach us how to live. The fact that God stands in 
certain relations to ourselves implies that there are certain duties arising out of 
those relations. To the revelation of the Divine name, as preserved by the 
family of Shem, mankind owes the noblest motive of conduct, the highest ideal 
of virtue and of life. If it was given to the Greeks to develop the powers of the 
intellect, it was the prerogative of Judaism to develop the conscience. How superior 
is the moral code delivered to the chosen race to that of the nations that lived about 
them ! The standard of morality is raised in all those nations where the light of 
revelation shines. In the culture of the human race in virtue, religion is the chief 
factor. 3, As a remedy for sin. It was given to the family of Shem to nourish the 

179 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



expectation of the Messiah, to prepare mankind for His coming, and to witness 
His manifestation. The weight of sin pressed npon the human conscience, and 
men sought in many ways to avert the displeasure of heaven and secure accept- 
ance. Hence the various rehgions of the world. Mankind yearned for some 
Deliverer from sin, who could restore light and peace to their souls. The 
coming of Christ imparted a sublime impulse to the education of the world. In 
Him humanity had reached its flower and perfection. The noblest ideal of life 
was given. Devotion was rendered easier for the mind and heart. The whole 
conception of the dignity of human nature was raised when God became man. 
The true way of peace was made known to the troubled conscience, and men 
could come to their Father in the joy of forgiveness. The passion for Christ, 
generated by the sense of His love, has produced the noblest heroism which the 
world has ever seen. It has developed the highest type of man. If the 
" Desire of all nations " had not come, how different would have been the issues 
of history ; how aimless and unsatisfactory all human effort ! We cannot over- 
rate the influence of religion on the intellectual j^rogress of mankind. It will be 
found that all the greatest and most exalted ideas in the mind of the poorest 
and most unlearned man in Christendom are derived from religion. Christianity 
has made the greatest ideas common to all. 

II. The spirit of work and enterprise. This is another factor which enters 
into the culture of the Imman race. It is represented by Japheth, which signi- 
fies enlargement. There was in him an energy by which he could overcome 
obstacles and expand his empire over the world. This spirit of work and enter- 
prise has given birth to civilisation. The union of external activity with 
mental power is the source of man's greatness and superiority in the world. 
1. It is necessary to material progress. In the division of human labour the 
thinlers stand first of all. Mind must survey the work and plan the means by 
which it is to be accomplished. But for the practical work of life, there must 
be energy to carry out the thoughts of the mind, and render them effective in 
those labours which minister to prosperity and happiness. Man cannot obtain 
the victory over Nature by contemplation alone. Philosophy must come down 
from her high seat and mix with men before any great practical results can be 
secured. Nature places obstacles in the way of man to rouse his thought and 
develop his powers of invention and contrivance. He has to contend with the 
earth and the sea, and even against some adverse forces in society itself. It is 
necessary that this contest should be directed by \X\Q,few who are thinkers, yet 
it can only come to a successful issue by the labours of the many who are 
workers. 2. It is necessa?'y to mental p)rogress. The knowledge and contem- 
plation of truth only partially satisfies the necessities of the mind. Truth be- 
comes an energy when it is embodied and doing work. By the application of 
abstract truths to the labours of life man has accomplished the greatest results. 
The mind becoines expanded when it is able to pass from the knowledge of its 
own facts to those of the world around. By far the larger proportion of human 
knowledge has been acqiiired by the actual struggle with the difliculties of our 
present existence. The battle of life has drawn out the powers of the mind. 
3. It is necessary to religions p^vgress. The knowledge of spiritual truth must 
be expressed in duty, or man can have no religion. Doctrines are only valuable 
as they teach us how to live. Activity without contemplation has many evils, 
but united with it is the perfection of spiritual life. True thoughts of God and 
ourselves must be manifested in that energy by which we contend with evil, and 
perform our duty. 

III. The power of evil. This is represented by Ham, who is the picture of 
moral inability — of one who knows his duty but is unable to perform it. Evil 

180 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



is the disquieting element in human culture ; a disadvantage, like friction in a 
machine. Moral weakness complicates man's struggle, protracts it through the 
ages, and delays victory. The tremendous power of evil must be acknowledged, 
but it is a terrible factor in the estimate of all human thoughts, struggles, and 
labours. In the culture of humanity, Ham lays waste the labours of Shem and 
Japheth. The persistence of evil demands new vigour from those who think and 
from those Avho work. One sinner can destroy much good that earnest minds 
and hearts have slowly laboured to build up. A large portion of the energy of 
mankind is spent in contention with evil, in neutralising the labours of one 
another, and but a poor remainder issues in useful work. This power of evil 
accounts for — ]. llie slow education of the race. 2. The monstrous forms of 
vice. These are developed even in the midst of the best influences and re- 
straints. 3. The limited di^^usion of religion. 4. The imperfection of the best. 
Still our great hope for the race is that evil is not the strongest power in it. 
Man is capable of goodness, of receiving the grace of God in sufficient measures 
to ensure his victory. Christ did not despair of humanity, for He knew it could 
be united to God and prevail. Religion is the strongest force in society ; and 
though in the course of history Shem is tlie last to be developed, yet he is first 
in the kingdom of God. Japheth's activity may secure present admiration, yet 
mankind must confess at last that to the preserver of the Divine name and sal- 
vation it owes its true wealth, prosperity, and lasting honour. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verses 18, 19. In the development 
now to appear, we naturally turn to 
the sons of Noah, to see whether the 
promised salvation is soon to come. 
Here for the fourth time the sons of 
Noah are mentioned (ch. v. 32 ; vi. 
10 ; vii. 13), to show that these alone 
came out of the ark as the branches 
into which the human family was now 
to be divided. In the new develop- 
ment now to be traced out, the cha- 
racter of the sons of Noah is to be 
given to show that the hope of the 
race in the Messiah was to be not in 
the line of Ham, nor of Japheth, but of 
Shorn — leading also to an enlargement 
of Japheth. This is in accordance with 
what is seen in the conduct of the 
brothers. — {Jacobus. ) 

In the individual character of the 
sons of Noah, we have the ground-plan 
of all history. 

Shem and Japheth are very different, 
but are, in their piety, the root of 
every ideal and humane tendency. 
The people and kingdom of China are 
a striking exampleof the immense power 
that lies in the blessings of filial piety ; 
but at the same time a proof that filial 
piety, without being grounded in some- 



thing deeper, cannot preserve even the 
greatest of peoples from falling into 
decay, like an old house, before their 
history ends. — (Lange.) 

In Shem and Japheth we have the 
representatives of action and con- 
templation. These types of character 
appear in the Christian Church in such 
as Peter and John, Martha and Mary. 
Nor is the dark type of evil waiiting : 
there was a Ham in the family of 
Noah, and there was a Judas among 
the Apostles. 

It was plainly the design and inten- 
tion of God that mankind should not 
retain uniformity of manners and sen- 
timents ; but that by breaking them 
into separate communities, and by dis- 
persing them over difterent countries 
and climates, they should be made to 
differ from each other by an indefinite 
diversity of customs and opinions. 
{Grinfield.) 

These two verses form a connecting 
link between the preceding and the 
following passage. After the recital of 
the covenant comes naturally the state- 
ment, that by the three sons of Noah, 
duly enumerated, was the whole land 
overspread. This forms a fit conclu- 

181 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



sion to the previous paragraph. But the father of Kenaan ; which is plainly 

the penman of these sentences had the preface to the following narrative, 

evidently the following paragraph in {Murphy.) 
view. For he mentions that Ham is 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 20—27. 

The Lessons of Noah's Fall. 

The second head of the human race passed through an experience of moral 
disaster, which in many features reminds us of the fate of the first. Adam fell 
through sensual indulgence, and so did Noah. Adam fell after God had given 
him tiie charter of dominion over the earth and all creatures. Noah fell when 
that charter had been renewed with added privileges. Both had received direct 
assurance of the Divine favour. The fruit which Noah tasted, and which caused 
him to transgress, was a mild reflex of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 
Adam sinned by partaking of that which was prohibited ; Noah sinned by 
excessive indulgence in that which was allowed. There are lessons of Noah's 
fall that are of special importance to us. His (unlike that of Adam) was not 
the fall of the innocent, but the fall of a sinner who had found acceptance 
with God. The lessons to be derived are most appropriate to our condition. 
They are — 

I. The moral dangers of social progress. Noah had been a husbandman, but 
he had laid the duties of it aside in order to prepare the ark. Now he resumes 
his old employment, and advances one step in social progress by beginning to 
cultivate the vine. Civilisation multiplies and refines our pleasures, opening up 
to us new sources of enjoyment. But it has special dangers. 1. Increased 
temptations to sensual indulgence. In the earliest times the habits of those who 
tilled the ground were simple, and the temptations arising from sensual enjoy- 
ments few. When toil " strung the nerves and purified the blood " the appetites 
were health}^, and easily satisfied. But when arts multiplied, new delights arose 
to please and stimulate a jaded appetite, and man began to feel the dangerous 
charms of luxury. Whatever multiplies the pleasures of sense sets more snares 
in the way of the soul. 2. It exercises a tyranny over us. Civilisation extends 
and varies our means of enjoyment. We grow accustomed to the luxuries which 
it brings, until these become a necessity of our nature. We are made their 
slaves. Noah lighted upon a new means of indulgence which has often created 
a dangerous craving, and bound man fast by the chains of evil habit. All in- 
dulgences, beyond the satisfaction of the simple necessities of nature, have in 
them some of the elements of seduction. The comforts of civilisation please 
and charm us ; but when in a moment of moral heroism we strive to be inde- 
pendent of them, we feel their chain. The pursuit of pleasure to excess is the 
great danger of all civilised societies. Few have the moral strength to subjugate 
the love of earthly delights to the higher purposes of life. 3. It tends to make 
zis satisfed tvith the present. When sources of pleasure are plentiful, and our 
taste of them rendered more exquisite by the refinements of an advanced civi- 
lisation, we are tempted to become so satisfied with earth that we feel no need 
of heaven. In the charms of worldly pleasures we grow insensible to the higher 
joys of the Spirit : we lend but a dull ear to the voice of duty, we become too 
soft and cowardly to wage the war with temptation and to fight the good fight. 

II. The sprcsding power of evil. Noah did not, at first, intend to prostrate 
himself beneath the power of wine ; but, led on by the gratification it afforded, he 

182 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



relaxed his moral control over himself and fell under the temptation. One evil, 
having gained admittance, opened the way for many. It is true, especially of 
the sins of the flesh, that one form of degradation quickly succeeds another. 
Sensual sin, by weakening the power of self-control, leaves a man helpless 
against the further assaults of temptation. He who once allows evil to gain the 
mastery over him cannot tell to what degrading depths he may descend. Evil 
has a tremendous power to spread. This is illustrated in the history of indi- 
viduals. One sin generates another, until he who has turned aside from the 
paths of virtue to taste some forbidden joy, is led further and further astray, 
and, at length, finds it difficult to return. It is the nature of sin to deceive, so 
that the victim of temi)tation has little suspicion of the base uses to which he 
may come. We have another illustration in the history o{ families. How often 
have sins of sensuality acted like a contagion among the members of a family ! 
Besides, sins of this kind are often inherited, the mischief not terminating with 
the first transgressors, but spreading like a foul infection to others. And a 
further illustration in the history of nations. At first, they rise to fame and 
greatness by manly courage and virtue ; but prosperity tempts them to sins of 
luxury and indulgence, and then the worm of decay is at their root. A nation 
like that of the ancient Romans would never have been conquered by a foreign 
power, if it had not been first weakened by internal corruptions. 

III. The temptations which assail when the excitement of a great purpose 
is past. While Noah was preparing the ark he Avas above the assaults of 
temptation. The excitement of a great purpose filled his mind, and he remained 
pure in the midst of the profligacy of the age. Now, when the work is over, he 
falls an easy prey to temptation. Activity with a worthy end in view is the 
best preservative of virtue. It is the very greatness of man that renders a life 
having no sufficient aim and purpose intolerable. There should be one great 
purpose in life, which can be continually reached after but not attained. This 
alone can promote that activity which preserves our moral health ; but if we 
trust to special victories, the ease and gratification of success which attends 
them may prove dangerous. Noah rested in one ivork accomplished, and for- 
getting that the great purpose of life still remains, the hero of faith falls a 
victim to the sins of sense. With the height of heaven above us, we should 
never rest, but keep our graces and virtues alive by exercise. 

IV. The power of transgression to develop moral character in others. The 

tendencies to evil often remain inert in us, but become developed to their issues 
by outward circumstances. The inward man thus makes himself known to the 
world what he is. 1. The sins of others give occasion for fresh sins in ourselves. 
Noah fell under the temptation to self-indulgence, and while helpless with excess 
of wine his son dishonours him by a shameless deed. By means of the sin of the 
one the character of the other stands revealed. The true moral nature of a man 
may be gathered from the manner in which he regards or treats the sin of others. 
If he glories in their shame, or is driven by it into further sin, his nature must 
be truly vile. 2. The sins of others may give occasion for some high moral 
action. Good men may interfere in the transgressions of others by their counsel, 
by timely reproof, by seeking to remove the temptation and prevent further 
evils. So it is here. A kind of moral ingenuity was exercised, adapting itself to 
a sudden emergency. Thus the evil of one man may serve to discover the virtue 
of another. 

V. The apparent dependence of prophecy upon the accidents of human 
conduct. The sin of Ham, and the generous conduct of his two brothers, 
furnished what appears to be the accidental occasion of a remarkable prophecy. 

183 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



The words of Noah take too ^vide a range and are too awful in their import to 
warrant the interpretation that they were the expression of a private feeling. 
They are a sketch of the future history of the world. The language is prophetic 
of the fate of nations. It may seem strange that so important an utterance should 
arise out of the accident of oue man's transgression. The same account, too, must 
he given of the greater xiart of the structure of iicripture. Some portions were 
written at tlie request of private persons, some to refute certain heresies which had 
sprung up in the Church. Many of the books in the New Testament owe their origin 
to the needs and disorders of the time. But this does not destroy the authority 
or Divine origin of the Scripture, for the following reasons : 1. The Bible has thus 
imparted to it a human character and interest. There is in the Word a human 
element as well as a Divine, a revelation of man as well as a revelation of God. 
The voice of eternal truth is heard speaking through human passions and 
interests. The fact that the Bible is true to the realities of human nature 
accounts, in no small degree, for the hold which it has on the mind and heart. 
The./br?;? in which it is given may, in our present condition, be the best for pro- 
moting our spiritual education. 2. The Bible is unfolded by an inner law. We 
must not regard the Bible as a collection of histories and sayings preserved by 
the Church, and bound together in one book. It is truly to us the Word of 
God, for His higher wisdom has guided and inspired each part, and informed 
the whole with an organic unity of life. As in the ordinary history of the 
world, God is ever v.^eaving what seems to us accident into the system of His 
providence, so in the formation of His written Word He makes the passing 
events of time to be part of the system of spiritual truth. 3. The Bible 
shows the advance of history toirards an end. The Old Testament history 
looks forward to the coming of the Messiah. No series of events are recorded 
as facts terminating in themselves, but rather as having reference to that 
supreme hour of the world's history when God should be manifest in the flesh. 
All was ministering to tliat " fulness of time" when mankind would be prepared 
to welcome their deliverer from heaven. Human history centres in the Son of 
Man. Mankind are either looking out for Christ, or they are actors in a history 
developed from Him. By the Christian mind, history is still to be regarded as 
working towards that definite end described by St. Paul, when lie declares the 
purpose of God to be the building up of all mankind into one (Eph. ii. 11-22). 
The Bible records events not as a chronicle of the past, but as showing how the 
Divine purpose has been, and is still being accomplished. In this view the 
human aspect of Scripture history appears as transfigured. The deeper intents 
of its teaching can only be read by a spiritual light. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verse 20. The second head of the have been in practice before this time, 

race, as the first, must find his true as the mention of them is merely in- 

prosperity and happiness in activity. cidental to the present narrative. But 

If Noah was before a mechanic, it it seems likely irom what follows, that 

is evident that he must now attend though grapes may have been in use, 

to the cultivation of the soil, that he wine had not been extracted from 

may draw from it the means of subsis- them. — {Murphy.) 
teuce. He planted a vineyard. God The vine in its significance : — 1. In 

was the first planter (Gen. ii. 8), and its perilous import. 2. In its higher 

since that time we hear nothing of the significance. God hath provided not 

cultivation of trees till Noah becomes merely for our necessity, but also for 

a planter. The cultivation of the vine our refreshment and exhilaration. The 

and tlie manufacture of wine might more refined His gilts, so much the 
184 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



more ought tliey to draw us, and make 
us feel the obHgation of a more refined 
life. — (Lange.) 

Noah's care in the cleansed earth is 
the vine. In the sphere of old Adam, 
and before the flood, that is before 
regeneration, Noah was no planter. 
There his work was tlie ark : there, 
day and night, instead of planting the 
vine, he was cutting down the high 
trees ; as the Church's work in the 
world still is to lay the axe to the root 
of man's pride ; to lay them low, that 
by the experience of death they may 
reach a better life. But in the Ciiurch, 
regenerate man has other work. There 
the vine is to be trained, and pruned, 
and cultivated : there its precious juice, 
which gladdens God and man, is to be 
drunk with thankfulness and joy to 
God's ^oxY.-(Jiifces : Types of Genesis. ) 

God plants His own vineyard — the 
Church — though men may abuse the 
privileges it affords. 

Verse 21. We are not in a position 
to estimate how much blame is to be 
imputed to Noah. He may have been 
ignorant of the strength of the wine, 
or have been rendered susceptible to 
its influence by liis age. At best, he 
was overtaken in a fault. The external 
degradation and the physical penalties 
would be the same whatever be the 
amount of guilt. 

Times of festivity require a double 
guard. Neither age nor character are 
any security in the hour of temptation. 
Who would have thought that a man 
who had walked with God, perhaps 
more than five hundred years, and 
who had withstood the temptations of 
a world, should fall alone ? This was 
like a ship which had gone round the 
world being overset in saihng into port. 
One heedless hour may stain the 
fairest life, and undo much of the good 
wluch we have been doing for a course 
of years. — {Fuller.) 

Drunkenness: 1. An abuse of the 
goodness of God. 2. A sin against 
the body. It deforms and degrades the 
temple of the soul. 3. Weakens the 
moral principle, and thus exposes a 
man to countless evils. 



The sins of the flesh reveal the 
moral nakedness of the soul. 

Wine is a mocker, and may deceive 
the holiest men that are not watchful 
(Prov. XX. 1). 

Intemperance leads to shame, de- 
grades the most respectable to the 
level of the brute, and subjects the 
wise and good to derision and scorn, 
puts a man's actions out of his own 
control, and sets a most pernicious ex- 
ample in the family and in society. — 
{Jacobus.) 

Verse 22. In such a world as tliis 
the mere sight of evil things may be 
accidental ; the sin lies in the behold- 
ing of them so as to make them objects 
of unlawful interest. 

To have complacency in the sin of 
others, and to make a mock at it is 
the mark of fools. 

A slight circumstance may serve to 
reveal the moral nature. There is a 
fine instinct in superior virtue wliicli 
can adapt itself to the difficulties and 
complications of the world's evil. 

It is the mark of a base mind to 
publish the shame of others, when it is 
in our power to hide it and cover it in 
oblivion by some loving deed. 

Love covers ; Ham, instead of veiling 
his father's nakedness, only the more 
openly uncovers what he had left ex- 
posed. As a son he transgresses against 
his father ; so, as a brother, would he 
become the seducer of his brother. — 
{Lange.) 

The evil have an eye for evil, while 
the good and loving are engaged in 
acts of charity. Thus He, whose work 
it is to bring to light the hidden things 
of darkness, by the failure of one often 
reveals another's heart. The Church's 
fall, the misuse of gift in some, is made 
the occasion for stripping the self- 
deceiver bare. Men sit in judgment 
on the evil in the Church, full of im- 
patience and self, laying all iniquity 
bare, not waiting for the righteous 
Judge ; little thinking that, whilst 
they are judging evil, God by the evil 
may be trying and judging tliem ; or 
that the spirit which exposes others' sin 
may be far more hateful to Him than 

185 



EOMILETia COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. IX. 



some misuse of privileges. — {Jukes: 
" Types of Genesis".) 

Verse 23. A virtuous mind is quick 
to discover means of freeing itself from 
moral embarrassmeut. 

Reverence for all that is about us — 
for all that is human — is the root of 
social virtue. 

Two things are brought out by this 
fall ; sin in some, and grace in others, 
of the Cliurch's sons. Ham not only- 
sees, but tells the shame abroad, with- 
out so much as an attempt to place a 
rag on that nakedness, which, as the 
sin of one so near to him, should have 
been his own shame. Sheni and Japheth 
will not look upon it, but " walking 
backward," — a path not taught by 
nature, but grace, — cover their father's 
nakedness.-(/«A-g5 " Types of Genesis.") 

The conduct of these two brothers 
is in accordance with the prophecy 
which follows. Nations, as such, have 
a moral character. Prophecy is but 
the distinct announcement of the 
working out of great moral principles 
through the course of history. 

Verse 24. The degradation of a 
man must at length come to light, 
and appear to himself. For every 
sinner there is an awakening. 

When Noah came to himself, he 
knew what had been done by his 
younger son. Nothing is said of his 
grief for his own sin. We are not to 
consider what follows as an ebullition 
of personal resentment, but as a pro- 
phecy which was meant to apply, and 
has been ever since applying to his 
posterity, and which it was not pos- 
sible for human resentment to dictate. 
{Fuller.) 

God brings to light the wicked 
practices of ungracious ones against 
His saints, and sheweth it to His pro- 
phets. — {Hughes. ) 

Verse 25. The interpretation that 
would resolve this declaration of Noah 
into an expression of private feeling is 
refuted by the history of those nations 
which sprang from his sons. Tiiat 
history confirms the prophecy, and 
proves it to be such. 
186 



The fulfilment of this prophecy took 
a wider range than could be contem- 
plated by expressions dictated in a 
moment of passion. The descendants 
of Ham flourished for long ages after 
this curse was pronounced, maintained 
their independence, and founded em- 
pires. Their power was not utterly 
broken, nor did they sink into subjec- 
tion until the time of the captivity. 
All this was too wide a prospect into 
futurity for the unaided mind of man 
to behold. 

It is a historical fact that the degra- 
dation of slavery hiis fallen especially 
upon the race of Ham. A portion of 
the Kenaanites became bondsmen 
among the Israelites, who were of the 
race of Slieni. The early Babylonians, 
the Phcenicians, the Carthaginians, 
and Egyptians, who all belonged to the 
race of Ham, were subjugated by the 
Assyrians, who were Shemites, the 
Persians, the Macedonians, and the 
Romans, who were all Japhethites. 
And in modern times it is well known 
that most of the nations of Europe 
traded in African slaves. — [Mur2yhy.) 

There never has been a son of Ham 
who has sliaken a sceptre over the head 
of Japheth. Shem hath siabdued Ja- 
pheth, and Japheth hath subdued 
Shem, but Ham never subdued either. 
— (Mede: quoted by Jacobus. ) 

This prophecy did not fix the de- 
scendants of Plam in the bonds of an 
iron destiny, nor does it reveal a flaw 
in the equal ways of God. The Ca- 
naanites, on account of their wicked- 
ness, deserved Divine chastisements ; 
and the prophecy does but signify what 
takes place by the operation of great 
moral laws. 

The curse pronounced upon Ham, 
though terrible, did not afiirm a per- 
petual doom, but was only to operate 
until the larger blessing and hope 
should be announced. Prophecy would 
yet unfold a brigliter prospect when 
the Deliverer Avould come for all ; and 
in the expansion of Messiah's empire, 
even " Etliiopia shall soon stretch out 
her hands unto God." (Psa. Ixviii. 31.) 

Verse 26. As Shem was to possess 



EOMILETIQ COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



the redeeming name of God, we have 
a further advance in prophecy, setting 
forth the particular race whence the 
Messiah should come. 

To preserve the name of God, and 
to be conscious of covenant relations 
with Him, is the true life of nations 
and of souls. All other greatness dies. 
The prophet breaks out in benediction 
on such. 

There is a dark side, however, to 
this prophetic thought, as it implies 
that the two other families of mankind, 
at least for part of the period under 
the prophet's view, were estranged from 
the true and living God. History cor- 
roborates both aspects of this prophetic 
sentence for the space of 2,400 years. 
During the most part of this long period 
the holy Jehovah Omnipotent was un- 
known to the great mass of the Japheth- 
ites, Hamites, and even Shemites. And 
it was only by the special election and 
consecration of an individual Shemite 
to be the head of a peculiar people, 
and the father of the faithful, that He 
did not cease to be the God of even a 
remnant of Shem. — (Murphy.) 

Shem holds the highest grade of 
honour. Therefore it is that Noah, in 
blessing him, expresses himself in praise 
of God, and dwells not upon the person. 
Whenever the declaration relates to 
some unusual and important pre- 
eminency, the Hebrews thus ever 
ascend to the praise of God. (Luke i. 
68.)— (Ca/rm.) 

Where God is truly Lord of His 
people, all adversaries are made subject 
to them. The Church shall in her ap- 
pointed seasons triumph in God, and 
all enemies be laid under her foot. — 
{Hughes.) 

Verse 27. Japheth was enlarged. 
1. In his territory. He v/as the pro- 
genitor of the inhabitants of Europe, 
Asia, and America, with the exception 
of the region between the Persian Gulf, 
the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, the 
Euxine, the Caspian, and the moun- 
tains beyond the Tigris, which was the 
dwelling of the Shemites. He had the 
colonising faculty — the disposition to 
push on his conquests far and wide. 



Shem was devoted to home and fathers 
— a conserver of the past — upholding 
the doctrine of standing still — posses- 
sing no spirit of adventure. 2. Li his 
intellectual and active faculties. The 
metaphysics of the Hindoos, the philo- 
sophy of the Greeks, and the military 
skill of the Romans, bear witness. The 
race of Japheth have given birth to 
the science and civilisation of the world. 
Even religion, though born in the East, 
has received the greatest expansion 
and development in the West. 

To Japheth it was given to elaborate 
and perfect that language in which it 
has pleased God to give His later reve- 
lation to mankind. The Greek lan- 
guage Avas through long ages being 
gradually fitted to be the most perfect 
vehicle for the mind of the Spirit. 

Nations that did not possess the 
Divine name have yet contributed to 
the glory of that name. The con- 
sciousness of the indwelling of God, 
together with the possession of that 
active energy which applies spiritual 
principles to life, affords the conditions 
of the highest prosperity. It is God's 
indwelling and enlargement — the union 
of Shem and Japheth. 

Human skill and activity without 
the grace of religion, however refined, 
is only intense Avorldliness. If Japheth 
would prosper in the highest degree, 
he must receive from Shem spiritual 
knowledge and the genius of devotion. 
Nothing else but Christianity can im- 
part stability and nobleness to civi- 
lisation, 

Tiie blessing of Shem, or faith in 
salvation, shall avail for the good of 
Japheth, even as the blessing of 
Japheth, humanitarian culture, shall 
in the end avail for Shem. These two 
blessings are reciprocal, and it is one 
of the deepest signs of some disease in 
our times, that these two are in so 
many ways estranged from eacli other, 
even to the extent of open hostility. 
What God has joined together, let no 
man put asunder. — {Lange.) 

When Alexander the Great con- 
quered the Persians, he gave protec- 
tion to the Jews. And when the 
Romans subdued the Greek monarchy, 

187 



HO MI LET IC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



they befriended the chosen nation. foresight of man could have thus cast 
In their time came the INIessiali, and the horoscope of history ? Surely the 
instituted that new form of the Church " seventh from Adam " spake as he 
of the Old Testament, which not only v/as moved by the Holy Ghost, 
retained the best part of the ancient The bondage of Ham has been over- 
people of God, but extended itself ruled for good in giving him the 
over the whole of Europe, the chief means of the knowledge of God. He 
seat of Japheth ; went with him has been brought thus within the iu- 
wherever he went, and is at this day, fluences of religion, 
through the blessing of God on his All human history is working towards 
political and moral influence, pene- that blessed end when mankind shall 
trating into the moral darkness of dwell in peace together, knowing and 
Ham as well as the remainder of Shem reverencing the name of God. The 
and Japheth himself. Thus, in the Church is the true home for mankind, 
highest of all senses, Japheth is dwell- and the highest style and ideal of 
ing in the tents of Shem. — {Murphy), social and national life. 
In that early age, what genius or 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 28, 29. 

The Years of Noah : Their Solemn Lessons. 

Here is the brief record of a noble life. There is little besides the simple 
numeration of years — merely a reference to the great event of Noah's history, 
and his falling at length under the common fate of all the race. This record, 
short as it is, teaches us some important lessons. 

I. The slow movements of Divine justice. Before the flood the wickedness of 
man had grown so great that God threatened to cut short his appointed time 
upon the earth. His days were to be contracted to 120 years — a terrible re- 
duction of the energy of human life when men lived nearly 1,000 years 
(Gen. vi. 3). But, from the instance of Noah, we find that this threat was not 
executed at once. Divine justice is stern and keen, but it is slow to punish. 

II. The energy of the Divine blessing. God blessed man at the first, and 
endowed him with abundant measures of the spirit of life. Even wiien human 
iniquity required to be cliecked and punished by the curtailing of this gift, the 
energy of the old blessing suffered little abatement. God causes the power of that 
blessing still to linger among mankind. The hand of Divine goodness slackens 
but slowly in the bestowal of gifts to man. How often are the favours of Provi- 
dence long continued to doomed nations and men ! Underlying all God's 
dealings with men there is the strong power of redemption, which is the life of 
every blessing. That power will yet overcome the world's evil and subdue all 
things. 

III. God's provision for the education of the race. When men depended 
entirely _upon verbal instruction, and teachers were few, the long duration of 
human life contributed to the preservation and the extending of knowledge. 
But as the education of the world advanced, new sources of knowledge were 
opened and teachers multiplied, the necessity for long life in the instructors of 
mankind grew less. The provisions of God are wonderfully adjusted to human 
necessity. 

IV. An encouragement to patient endurance. Here is one who bore the cross 
for the long space of 950 years. What a discipline in suffering as well as in 

188 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



doing tlie will of God ! Time is the chief component among the forces that try 
patience, for patience is rather borne away by long trials than overwhelmed by 
the rolling wave. If tempted to murmnr in affliction, or at our protracted 
contest with temptation and sin, let us think of those who have endured longer 
than we. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verses 28, 29. He lived accepted afflictions. He died a death beseeming 

of God, promoted by Him, testifying such a man ; he died a saint, a be- 

against sin, preaching righteousness, liever, a glorious instrument in Christ's 

giving laws from God to the genera- Church, and so died in hope wlien by 

tion wherein he was ; and sometimes faith he had seen the promises. — 

slipping into sin, and^falling into bitter (Hughes.) 



CHAPTER X. 



Ceitical Notes. — 1, Generations] The origins, genesis, or developments ; a characteristic 
note of this book. The whole chapter is a table of the nations which descended from the sons of 
Noah. — 2. Japheth] " The order of the generations of the sons of Noah here followed is .Japheth, 
Ham, Shem. The reason why this arrangement begins with Japheth is that he was the eldest 
of the three. Ham follows next, in order that the main subject, the line of Shem, may be free 
for treatment ; the object of secondary interest having been first disposed of, according to the 
practice of the sacred writer " (Alford). There is a striking similarity between the name Japheth 
and the lapetus, which the Greeks and Romans regarded as the progenitor of the human race. 
— Gomer] This name has been traced to the Cimmerians of Homer, and also to the Cymry, the 
national name of the Welsh. The name occurs in the Cimmerian Bosjjhorus — the Crimea. This 
people inhabited the N.W. portion of Jajaheth's territory ; they are mentioned in Ezek. xxxviii. 6. 
— MagogJ Identified %vith the Scythians — generally the north-eastern nations. " The chief 
people in the army of Gog (Ezek. xxxviii. 2, 3 ; xxxix. 1) is Rosh, that is, the Rossi, or Russians " 
(Knohel). — Madai] The Medes, inhabiting the S. and S.W. They became incorporated in the 
Persian Empire, hence the two nations are spoken of together. — Javan] The lonians, or Crreeks. 
— Tubal and Meshech] Tliese names frequently occur together in the Old Testament. They are 
supposed to be identical with the Tiberians, inhabiting Pontus and the districts of Asia Minor 
generally. — Tiras] Probably the Thracians, dwellers on the River Tiras, or Dniester. — 
S. Ashkenaz] Some suppose this name to designate the Asen race, which is said to be the origin 
of the Germans. "It is somewhat remarkable that the Jews, to this day, call Germany 
AsJce7iaz " (Alford). — Kiphath] Probably the Celts, who dwelt originally on the Riphoean, 
or Carpathian mountains. — Togarmah] The Arminians, whose first king was named Thorgom, 
and who still call themselves the House of Thorgom. — 4. Elishah] Josephus and Knobel 

suppose that the /Eolians are represented ; others have traced the name to Hellas Tarshish."! 

The Tyrseni, or Etruscans, colonised the east and south of Spain, and north of Italy. — Kittim] 
The original inhabitants of Cyprus, whose ancient capital was Citium, an old Greek town. 
Alexander the Great is said to have come out of the laud of CMttim (1 Mac. I., 1 ; viii. 5). — 
Dodanim] The Dardanians, who in historic times inhabited lUyrium and Troy. 5. The isles of 
the Gentiles] " would appear to include the coast of the Meditei-ranean. The word signifies not 
only island, but also any maritime tracts. The notice in this verse must evidently be regarded 
as anticipatory of chapter xi. 1 " (Alford), The Jews applied the word, besides its strict sense, 
also to describe those countries whicli could only be conveniently reached by water. — Every one 
after his tongue] "Thus clearly evincing that this dispersion took place after the confusion 
of tongues, though related before it " (Bush). — 6. Gush] This name desis^nates the Ethiopians, 
also including the Southern Asiatics. Cuah is generally rendered Ethiopia in the A. V. — 
Mizraim] ^ The O. T. name for Egypt or the Egyptians.— 7. b aba] " Meroe-Ethiopians living from 
Elephantine to Meroe. The prophets represent the accession of Seba to the Church of God as 
one of the glories of the latter-day triumphs (Ps. Ixxii. 10). — Candace seems to have been the 
queen of this region" (Acts viii. 27- — /aco6«s. )—Sheba] The Sabeans, dweUing on shores of the 
Persian Gulf. They are referred to as men of stature and of commercial importance, in 
Isa. idv, 14.— S. And Cush beerat Nimrod] " The historian here turns aside from the list of 

189 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



nations to notice the origin of the first great empires that were established on the earth. Of the 
sons of Cash, one is here noted as the first potentate in history " (Jacobus). " The occurrence 
of the name Jehovah marks the insertion as due to the Jehovist supplementer " (Alford). — 
A mighty one in the earth] A hero — a conqueror — the first founder of an empire. — 9- He Was a 
mighty hunter] " Taken in its primary sense, that this great conqueror was also a great follower 
of the chase, a pursuit which, as Delitzch remarks, ' has remained to this day, true to its origin, 
the favourite pleasure of tyrants'" {Alford). — Before the Lord] An expression denoting his 
eminent greatness. Some suppose that it refers to his defiance of Jehovah, and this interpreta- 
tion is favoured by the meaning of his name — let ms rebel. — 10- The beginning of his kingdom] 
The first theatre of his sovereignty. — Babel] Babylon. — 11. Out of the land went forth Asshur] 
A more probable rendering is, " He came forth to Asshur," i.e., he extended his conquests from 
Shinar.— 12. The same is a ereat city] " Knobel refers this to the whole four just mentioned, 
Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen ; these four places are the site which is named the great 
citij, viz., Nineveh in the wider sense. See Jonah iv. 11 ; iii. 3 " {Alford). — 13-20. A 
continuation of the sons of Ham] 21. The father of aU the chQdren of Eber] " This declaration 
calls attention beforehand to the fact, that in the sons of Eber the Shemetic line of the descen- 
dants of Abraham separates again in Peleg, namely, from Joktan, or his Arabian descendants " 
(Langf). — 25. In his days was the earth divided] These words have given rise to much specu- 
lation, but the more probable opinion is that they refer to the incident described in ch. xi. 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPHS— Verses 1—32. 

The First Ethnological Table. 

Many readers might be disposed to undervalue a chapter like this, since it is 
but a collection of names — some of which are quite unknown — and is made up 
of barren details promising little material for profitable reflection. Yet a 
thoughtful reader will be interested here, and discover the germs and sugges- 
tions of great truths ; for the subject is mati, and man, too, considered in refer- 
ence to God's great purpose in the government of the world. This chapter " is 
as essential to an understanding of the Bible, and of history in general, as is 
Homer's catalogue, in the second book of the Iliad, to a true knowledge of the 
Homeric poems and the Homeric times. The Biblical student can no more 
undervalue the one than the classical student the other." (Dr. T. Lewis, iti 
Langes Genesis.) Let us consider what are the chief characteristics and lessons 
of this, the oldest ethnological table in all literature, 

I. It is marked by the features of a truthful record. 1. It is not vague and 
general, but descends to particulars. The forgers of fictitious documents seldom 
run the risk of scattering the names of persons and places freely over their page. 
That would expose them to detection. Hence tho.se who write with fraudulent 
design deal in what is vague and general. This chapter mentions particulars 
of names and places, and, in this regard, has the marks of a genuine record. 
Heathen literature does not furnish so wide and universal a register. One 
cause why that literature is so deficient in documents of this nature lies 
in the fact that each heathen nation was shut up within itself, having little 
relations with others except those of trade and war. But this chapter is 
framed on a wider basis, is concerned with all races of men, however diver- 
sified, and contemplates the human family as having an essential unity 
under all possible varieties of character and external conditions. 2. Heathen 
literature when dealing with the origin of nations employs extravagant 
language. The early annals of all nations, except the Jews, run at length into 
fable, or else pretend to a most incredible antiquity. National vanity would 
account for such devices and for the willingness to receive them. The Jews 
had the same temptations to indulge in f-his kind of vanity as the other nations 
around them. It is therefore a remarkable circumstance that they pretend to 
no fabulous antiquity. We are shut up^to the conclusion that their sacred 
records grew up under the special care of Prlovidence, and were preserved from 
190 



CHAP. X. EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



the common infirmities of merely human authorship. The sober statements of 
this chapter regarding the origin of nations is a presumption of their truth. 3, 
Here we have the ground-plan of all history. The physical, intellectual, moral, 
.social, and religious forces represented here sufficiently account for all subse- 
quent history. We have, in this sacred portion of history, a light to guide and 
inform us over those tracts of time where the records of other nations leave us 
in darkness. We learn further — 

II. That history has its basis in that of individual men. We speak of 
God's relations to humanity, of the history of the world ; but it will be 
found that this ultimately resolves itself into the history of individual men, 
who represent social and moral forces which have determined the currents of 
events. We find that God's successive revelations were made to depend upon 
the characters of individual men. The revelation of salvation itself ever tends 
to take this form. God did not reveal His plans of mercy, in their ever-expand- 
ing outline and detail, to large bodies of men, but to individuals whom He 
deemed worthy of such sacred communications. It is not therefore strange 
that single human lives occupy so large a portion of Scripture. All history 
was to issue in One who would be the flower of humanity ; and in whom alone 
the race could be contemplated with any joy of hope. The general lesson of 
this chapter is plain, namely, that no man can go to the bottom of history who 
does not study the lives of those men who have made that history what it is. 

III. That man is the central figure in Scripture. The Bible differs, in one 
important feature, from the sacred books of other nations. They lose them- 
selves in endless theories and speculations concerning the origin of the material 
iiniverse. They have minute and elaborately detailed systems of cosmogony, 
geography, and astronomy. Hence the advance of the human mind in natural 
knowledge must be fatal to their authority. But the Bible commits itself to no 
detailed description of the laws and phenomena of nature. One short chapter 
in it is deemed sufficient to tell us that God made the heavens and the earth. 
The world is only considered as it is a habitation for man, and the platform on 
which the Supreme works out His great designs. Man is regarded in Scripture 
not merely as part of the furniture of this planet, but as lord of all. Everything 
is put under his feet. Hence the sacred records describe a God of men rather 
than a God of nature. They give a history of man as distinct from nature. 
Infidels have made this characteristic of revelation a matter of reproach ; but 
all who know how rich God's purpose towards mankind is, glory in it, and 
believe that great things must be in store for a race which has occupied so much 
of the Divine regard. 

IV. The progressive movement of history towards an end. No history is 
marked by signs of living power that does not advance towards some great and 
noble end. In the highest things, how aimless have been the histories of the 
chief nations of mankind ! Some particulars of Bible history may be regarded 
as unimportant, and even contemptible, when compared with the more stately 
and dignified records of the nations around ; yet they show the onward 
march of humanity towards an end. They show how that humanity was 
gravitating towards its centre in Shem, Abraham, and Christ. How soon does 
the sacred history leave many of the great names recorded here — some of them 
founders of great empires ; and important forces, as the world accounts — and 
proceeds to the dehneation of individual lives which in the grey dawn and 
morning of the world reflect the light of the Sun of Righteousness ! The great 
nations of the earth are afterwards little noticed, except when for a moment 
they are brought into some relation with the chosen people. The reason of this 

191 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



peculiarity is, tliat the Bible is not a world-history, but a history of the kingdom 
of God. All the interest centres successively in one people, tribe, and family ; 
then in one who was to come out of that family, bringing redemption for man- 
kind. " Salvation is of the Jews." The noblest idea of history is only realised 
in the Bible. Those of the world had no living Word of God to inspire that 
idea. That book can scarcely be regarded as of human origin which passes by 
the great things of the world, and lingers with the man who " believed in God, 
and it was counted unto him for righteousness." 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE CHAPTER. 



In this chapter we see the origin of 
many nations in all parts of the world, 
and therefore the power of the blessing 
which God, after the flood, had re- 
newed to men in respect to their mul- 
tiplying and propagation ; and so, 
finally, we learn the fathers from 
whom Christ was born according to 
the flesh. Neither Noah nor his sons 
begat any offspring during the time of 
the flood. The same may be con- 
jectured to be true of the animals 
which were shut up with him in a dark 
dungeon, and as it were in the midst 
of death. — {Starke.) 

In this outline of the history of all 
nations, we have a suggestion of the 
universality of God's gracious pur- 
poses towards mankind. Heaven will 
draw inhabitants from every kingdom, 
people, nation, and tongue. 

The relation between the history of 
God's kingdom and the world-history : 
1. The contrast; 2. the connection; 
3. the unity (in its wider sense is the 
whole world's history a history of the 
kingdom of God). — {Lange.) 

The fifth document relates to the 



generations of the sons of Noah. It 
presents first a genealogy of the nations, 
and then an account of the distribution 
of mankind into nations, and their dis- 
persion over the earth. This is the 
last section which treats historically of 
the whole human race. Only in inci- 
dental, didactic, or prophetic passages 
do we again meet with mankind as a 
whole in the 01dTestament.-(J7?^?-jt>%.) 

This chapter illustrates one stage of 
advance in the development of the 
human race. The family grows into 
the nation. The history reaches from 
Noah to Abraham, who is the repre- 
sentative of all the children of faith. 
Hence arises the Church, the highest 
form of life, the home for all mankind, 
however diversified in country, race, or 
tongue. 

Though the race of man, as a whole, 
now disappears from the sacred page, 
yet in the progress of God's revelation 
to man we are led on to Christ, in 
whom all things and m.en that have 
been sundered and scattered shall be 
gathered together. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON SPECIAL PORTIONS. 



Verse 1. Note the connection of this 
with the former history, Noah had 
prophesied before concerning all his 
sons, and then was added his expira- 
tion, the Spirit meaning to speak no 
more of him : but now, that being 
done, He proceeds to show the persons 
and posterity upon whom all these 
Avords were to be fulfilled. God's word 
must not fall to the ground. God's 
prophecies and performances are joined 
together in His word, so they should 
192 



be in our 
{Hughes.) 



faith and observation. — 



Verse 5. The Scripture, foreseeing 
that Europe would, from the first, em- 
brace the Gospel, and for many ages 
be the principal seat of its operations, 
the Messiah Himself is introduced by 
Isaiah as addressing Himself to its in- 
habitants — " Listen, isles, unto Me ; 
and hearken ye people from afar. 
Jehovah hath called Me from the 



CHAP. X. 



HOMILETIG COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



womb, and hath said unto Me, It is a 
light thing that Thou shouldest be My 
servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob. 
I will also give Thee for a light to the 
Gentiles, that Thou shouldest be My 
salvation to the end of the earth " 
(Is. xlix. 1-6). Here we see not only 
the first peopling of our native country, 
but the kind remembrance of us in the 
way of mercy, and this, though far re- 
moved the means of salvation. What 
a call is this to us who occupy what is 
denominated the end of the earth, to 
be thankful for the Gospel, and to 
listen to the sweet accents of the 
Saviour's voice. — {Fuller.) 

It was God's plan that men should 
be divided and dispersed all over the 
earth, and He has Himself determined 
the bounds of their habitation. 

In their nations. We note here the 
characteristics of a nation — 1. It is 
descended from one head. Others 
may be occasionally grafted on the 
original stock by inter-marriage. But 
there is a vital union subsisting between 
all the members and the head, in con- 
sequence of which the name of the 
head is applied to the whole body of 
the nation. 2. A nation has a country 
or " land" which it calls its own. In 
the necessary migrations of ancient 
tribes, the new territories appropriated 
by the tribe, or any part of it, were 
naturally called by the old name, or 
some other name belonging to the old 
country. 3. A nation has its own 
"tongue." This constitutes at once 
its unity in itself, and its separation 



from others. Many of the nations in 
the table may have spoken cognate 
tongues, or even originally the same 
tongue. But it is a uniform law that 
one nation has only one speech within 
itself. 4. A nation is composed of 
many " families," clans, or tribes. 
These branch off from the nation in 
the same manner as it did from the 
parent stock of the race. — {Mmyhy.) 

Verse 9. The original term for 
" hunting " occurs elsewhere, not so 
much in reference to the pursuit of 
game in the forest, as to a violent 
invasion of the persons and rights of 
men. Thus 1 Sam. xxiv. 11, "Thou 
huntest my soul {i.e. my life) to take 
it." This usage undoubtedly affords 
us a key to Nimrod's true character ; 
though probably, like most of the 
heroes of remote classical antiquity, 
addicted to the hunting of wild beasts ; 
yet his bold, aspiring, arrogant spirit 
rested not content with this mode of 
displaying his prowess. With the 
band of adventurous and lawless spirits 
which his predatory skill had gathered 
around him, he proceeded gradually 
from hunting beasts to assaulting, 
oppressing, and subjugating his fellow- 
men. That the inhuman practice of 
war, at least in the ages after the flood, 
originated with this daring usurper, 
is in the highest degree probable. 

" Proud Nimi'od first the bloody chase began, 
A mighty hunter — and his prey was man." 

(Bush). 



ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER IX. 



EEV. WM. ADAMSON. 



Noachic Covenant! Ver. 1-17. We have 
here (1) Principle of Government, as God's 
institution for the good of His saints ; (2) 
Promulgation of Covenant, as God's instruction 
to mankind of an everlasting covenant in 
Christ ; and (3) Proclamation of Rainbow, as 
God's intimation of His faithfulness, in which 
no arrow shall ever find a place. There are 
men who can see no lofty aim in this chapter 
ix., and who only see the abstract moral 
principle of right and wrong, virtue and vice. 
Like the first visitors to the coral lagoons, 



they can only perceive a sheet of water ; 
whereas deep down are the pearl -treasures — 
the gems of great price. Dost thou well 

" To challenge the designs of the All-mse ; 
Or carp at projects which thou may'st but scan 
With sight defective : typal contrivances 
Of peerless slcill and of unequalled art, 
Framed by divinest wisdom to subserve 
The subtle processes of grace ? " 

Representation! Ver. 1. (1) In the earliest 
S 193 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. IX. 



fauna and flora of the earth, one class stood 
for many. The earliest families combined the 
character of several families afterwards separ- 
ately introduced. This is true, for instance, 
of ferns, which belong to the oldest races of 
vegetation. Of them it has been well said 
that there is hardly a single feature or quality 
possessed by flowering plants, of which we do 
not find a hint or prefiguration in ferns. It is 
thus most interesting to notice in the earliest 
productions of our earth, the same laws and 
processes which we observe in the latest and 
most highly developed flowers and trees. (2) 
At the successive periods of the unfolding of 
God's great promise, we find one individual 
representing the history of the race, and fore- 
shadowing in brief the essential character of 
large phases and long periods of human 
development. Hence it is that here Noah 
becomes the representative of the patriarchal 
families in covenant with God. He is the 
individual with whom God enters into cove- 
nant, in relation to the successive generations 
of the human race. (3) And in this respect 
Noah is a retrospective type of Him who, in the 
eternal ages, consented to be the representative 
of redeemed humanity, and with whom the 
Father made an everlasting covenant ; and a 
prospective type of that same Representative 
who, in the fulness of time received the Divine 
assurance that in Him should all nations of 
the earth be blessed, when, as the Prince of 
Peace, He 

" Leads forth His armies with triumphal palms, 
And hymning hallelujahs, while his foes 
Are crushed before Him, and Himself assumes 
The sceptre of His rightful universe." 

Bible Kevision ! Ver. 1. etc. (1) The last 
four verses of chap. viii. properly belong to 
chap. ix. In any future revision, these 4 verses, 
along with the first 17 verses of chap, ix., should 
be united in one chapter. The sweet-smelling 
savour is intimately connected with the Divine 
declaration of man's future. As we link the 
blessings of humanity for the last 2000 years 
with the sweet-smelling sacrifice of Calvary, 
so should we join the future of man (as in 
verses 1-17) with the Noachic sacrifice so 
acceptable to God. (2) And as the ark cast 
upon the stormy floods was divinely designed 
to be a type of that other and better ark, 
sheltering man from the wrath divine ; so that 
sweet and odorous offering, with its succeeding 
stream of divine benediction, was a divinely- 
appointed symbol of the nobler victim on a 
holier mount, 

" The fragrance of whose perfect sacrifice 

Breathes infinite beatitude, and spans 

The clouds of judgment with eternal light." 

Man's liordship! Ver. 2. In India, a man- 
eating tiger sprang upon a group of men resting 
in the shade. Grasping with his teeth one of 
the group, he sprang off into the jungle, while 
the rest of the natives scattered hither and 
thither. The following day, a maiden, return- 
194 



ing from the fountaiu, met the same tiger. 
Fastening her eye firmly upon that of the 
tiger, she boldly advanced to the beast, which 
suddenly turned and fled into the thickets, 
God thus shows what sin has done in destroying 
man's lordship over the creature. No doubt, 
had man under the Noachic covenant walked 
with God, the fear of man and the dread of 
man would have been upon every beast of the 
field, and upon every fowl of the air. It was 
the same lion, which seized the soldier by the 
camp-fire, which ne.xt day fled precipitately 
from the form of a little child, as it stood 
staring with childish wonderment at the strange 
creature that stepped across the path leading 
to the Missionary's compound. In that re- 
treating monarch of the wild from the sliining 
eye of childhood, we have a relic, not of man's 
Adamic, but of man's Noachic dominion over 
the beasts of the forest, who slunk away 

" With muttered growls, and sought their 

lonesome dens. 
Gliding, like cowering ghosts with baffled 

mien, 
Into the dark, deep forest." — Collingivood, 

Blood for Blood! Ver, 6. An English 
tourist came upon an Indian village, in centre 
of which a number of youths were playing. 
Provoked in play, one lost his temper, and, 
suddenly seizing a knife, struck his opponent 
in the neck. The wound, though not dangerous, 
bled profusely, and a cry was immediately 
raised. A young chief came forth from his 
hut — inquired the cause — and, having ascer- 
tained the culprit, started in pursuit of him. 
Soon overtaken, the guilty youth was dragged 
to where the wounded one lay. After carefully 
examining the depth, extent etc. of the wound, 
the young chief took a knife and made precisely 
the same incision in the offender's neck. The 
one was a papyrographic fac-simile of the other. 
Both were then taken to their huts. This 
Indian chief was the " Goel ;" i.e., the avenger 
of the injured; 

" Poising the cause in justice' equal scales, 
Whose beam stands sure, whose rightful 
cause prevails." — Shakespeare. 

Nature-Symbolism! Ver. 12-17. (1) All 
Nature, says Leale, is a mighty parable of 
spiritual truth. To the attentive ear, all the 
earth is eloquent ; to the reflecting mind, all 
Nature is symbolical. Each object has a voice 
which reaches the inner ear, and speaks lessons 
of wise and solemn import. The stream 
murmurs unceasingly its secrets ; the sibylline 
breeze in mountain glens and lonely forests 
sighs forth its oracles. We are told that the 
invisible things of God, from the beginning of 
the world, are clearly seen ; being understood 
by the things that are made. From the very 
first, a spiritual significance was embodied in 
the physical forms and processes of the universe. 
Nature, as a whole, was meant to be for man 
the vesture of the spiritual world. (2) But, in 
addition to this, God takes one of these symbols 



CHAP. IX. 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



in Nature, and, as it were, consecrates it to 
new use — appropriates to it new and refreshing 
spiritual significance. He seizes upon an exist- 
ing phenomenon, which, as Wordsworth says, 
had hitherto been but a beautiful object-lesson 
shining in the heavens, when the sun's rays 
descended on falling rain, and consecrates it as 
the sign of His love to man. 
" And thus, fair bow, no fabling dreams. 
But words of the Most High 
Have told why first thy robe of beams 

Was woven in the sky ; 
When o'er the green, undeluged earth 
Heaven's covenant thou didst shine." 

Rainbow! Ver. 13. If a boy, says New- 
ton, has a ball, and wishes to know wliat it is 
made of, he takes it to pieces ; and in the 
same way we can take the sunlight to jjieces, 
and find out of what it is made. Go into 
a room which has a -window towards the west 
where the sun is shining. Close the shutters, 
after boring a hole in the shutter large enough 
to insert your finger. A beam of sunlight 
comes through that hole. Hold a prism, i.e., 
a three cornered piece of glass so that the 
shaft of light falls upon it. Before that beam 
enters the prism, it is white ; but in going 
through the glass it is broken up and taken to 
pieces. It comes out in seven different colours. 
Now, whenever the rainbow appears, this is 
the way in which it is made. God has been 
breaking up the light. He uses not the prism 
of glass, but the drops of falling rain. 

" When thou dost shine, darkness looks white 

and fair ; 
Forms turn to music, clouds to smiles and air ; 
Rain gently spreads his honey-drojjs, and pours 
Balm on the cleft earth, milk on grass and 

flowers." 

Covenant Rainbow! Ver. ]3. (1) The 
beautiful rainbow, in whicli all the seven 
prismatic colours are blended together in 
sweet and graceful proportion, is declared to 
be an emblem of His covenant with His 
people. And as the seven-fold colours thus 
sweetly blend in harmony of grace, so in His 
covenant every attribute of God is exhibited 
in its infinite perfection, and in it they all 
beautifully and gloriously harmonise together. 
(2) This comes out in Ezek. i. 27, where we 
are told by Ezekiel that, in the vision vouch- 
safed to him of Christ upon the mercy seat in 
the heavens, as the appearance of the bow that 
is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the 
appearance of the brightness round about. If 
this symbolises anything, surely it symbolises 
the excellent grace and surpassing harmony of 
the Divine attributes in the covenant of Christ. 

"When I behold thee, though my light be 

dim. 
Distant, O bow, I can in thine see Him 
Who looks upon thee from His glorious 

throne. 
And minds the covenant betwixt All and One." 



Divine Action! Ver. 13. (1) Not only is 
the cloud necessary, but also the sunlight. 
The dark cloud is of itself utterly power- 
less to give birth to the smiling arch of 
light. The bright rays of the sun are requisite 
to paint its glowing colours on the dark back- 
ground. The sun must kiss the dark face of 
the storm-cloud with his lips, before it can 
become wreathed with beauty. The cloud 
alone can make no rainbow glitter on its 
breast ; but the moment the light darts 
through the gloom and kisses with its golden 
rays the threatening cloud — that very vioment, 
a belt of light encircles the cloud. (2) In 
the Christian life-sky, the clouds of sorrow 
and affliction are an essential element of 
Divine discipline, for there drop from the 
clouds the raindrops of invigorating refresh- 
ment. But those clouds have on their breast 
no bright liglit of truth and faithfulness, 
except the Sun of Righteousness dart His en- 
lightening beams. It is when Jesus smiles 
upon our cloud-woes, that the eye of the soul 
beholds the eternal iris of grace of truth, and 
as it beholds adores Him who says, " I, the 
Sun of Righteousness, do set My bow in the 
cloud." 

" Oft, O Lord ! Thy azure heaven 
Did grey rainy vapours shroud, 
Till at last in colours seven, 

Shone Thy bow upon the cloud ; 
Then, for saving mercies there, 
I, on my steep mount of care. 
Altar built for thankful pi-ayer." 

Geroh 



Rainbow-Myths! Ver. 14. It was a beau- 
tiful superstition which maintained that, 
wherever tlie glittering feet of the rainbow 
rested, there a hidden treasure would be dis- 
covered. And some foolishly set out in quest 
of this hidden treasure, wandering far and 
wide, only to find fairy gold — a glow of beauty 
which vanished ever and anon the nearer they 
approached it. But there was mystic truth in 
the fable. Where the magic hues lay, there 
the dull soil brightened into fruitfulness. 
Golden harvests — the only true riches of earth 
— sprang up, and rewarded those who sought 
wealth, not in idle, superstitious wanderings, 
but by steady, trustful industry, in those spots 
where the feet of the bow of promise touched 
the earth. Macmillan says that our cornfields 
grow and ripen seemingly under that covenant- 
arch, whose keystone is in the heavens, and 
whose foundations are upon the earth. And 
surely it is beneath the feet of the " Faithful 
and True Witness " (Rev. i.) that the golden 
harvest of redeemed ones, to be reaped by His 
angels, spring up, under the genial showers of 
the Holy Spirit of Grace . So that when God 
set his opal rainbow in the clouds He made it 
a teacher of the great harvest of grace, as 
well as 

" A token when His judgments are abroad 
Of His perpetual covenant of peace." 

195 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. IX. 



Kainbow! Ver. 15. GotI was pleased to 
adopt the known and most beautiful, as well 
as welcome token of a retiring storm, as the 
sign of His covenant of mercy. And thus, in 
the visions of heaven, the throne of God is 
over-arched by a rainbow, and a rainbow is 
displayed as a diadem above the head of 
Christ (Kev. x. 1). Whenever we see a rain- 
bow, let us (1) Call to mind that it is God's 
bow seen in the cloud ; (2) Conclude that, in 
His darkest dispensations, there is ever a 
gracious purpose towards us ; and (-3) Consider 
that all warnings of wrath to come are accom- 
panied with offere of pardon to the penitent. 
It is a suggestive fact that the rainbow is 
never seen except in a cloud from which the 
rain is at the same time falling. So that if 
the shower reminds us of the flood, the bow in 
that same shower-cloud shall remind us of the 
Covenant : — 

" A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow, 
Conspicuous, with three tinted colours gay, 
Betokening peace with God, and covenant 
new." Milton. 

Apocalyptic Rainbow! Ver. 16. (1) In 
St. John's local description of the celestial 
presence chamber, he tells us of his initial 
glance into the heaven of heavens. The 
august throne of Deity arrests his gaze. It 
has been rightly remarked that, combining the 
description in Rev. iv. with others which 
follow, this grandest of visions consists in the 
manifestation of God as the God of Redemp- 
tion. We have Jehovah seated on the throne 
— the Lamb in the midst of the thi-one — and 
the seven lamps or torches before the throne. 
The throne itself has the three primary 
colours ; while encircling all was the rainbow. 
(2) As in Ezekiel's vision by the banks of 
Chebar, the appearance of the glory of the 
Lord was encircled by the appearance of the 
bow in the cloud, to assure him to fear nothing 
of Babylon or Assyria, inasmuch as He who 
.sat enthroned above the complications and 
seeming confusions of earth was faithful and 
true; so to the Seer of Patmos was vouchsafed 
a similar assurance, " I do set my bow in the 
cloud." He saw God, in His covenant aspect, 
as the God of salvation — His throne encom- 
passed with the emerald iris — 

" Beautiful bow ! A brighter one 
Is shining round th' eternal throne ! 
And when life's little storm is o'er 
May I gaze on this bow for evermore." 

Watson. 

Everlasting Covenant! Ver. 16. The rain- 
bow of the covenant of gi-ace lasts for ever ; it 
never melts. The one on which Noah gazed 
soon lost its brilliancy. Fainter and fainter 
still it grew, until, like a coloured haze, it just 
qiiivered in the air, and then faded from the 
vision. Ten thousand rainbows since have 
arched our earth, and then melted in the 
clouds ; but the rainbow of God's mercy in 
Christ abides for ever. It shines with undi- 

196 



minished splendour from all eternity, and its 
brilliancy will dazzle the eyes of redeemed 
humanity through the countless cycles of the 
same eternity. As has been said by Guthrie, 
it gleams in heaven to-night, yea, it beams 
sweetly on earth with harmonious hues, mel- 
lowed and blended into each other as fresh as 
ever. And when the sun has run his course 
and given place unto eternity, that bow of 
grace will still remain for ever, and be the 
theme of the ceaseless songs of spirits glorified 
in heaven, as, wrajjt in the radiance of that 
sinless, sunless land, they realise that the 
darkness of earth was but the shadow of God's 
wing sheltering them from earth's too scorching 
sun. 

" As fresh as yon horizon dark. 
As young thy beauties seem, 
As when the eagle from the ark 
rirst sported in thy beam." 



Climate-Influences! Ver. 18, 19. (1) It is 
a remarkable fact that insects partake of the 
colours of the trees upon which they dwell. 
Some look so exactly like slender dead twigs 
covered with bark, that their insect nature 
can only be discovered by mere accident. 
Some resemble living things, and are green. 
Others resemble such as are decayed, and are 
brown. The wings of many put on the resem- 
blance of dry and crumpled leaves ; whilst 
those of others are a vivid green, in exact 
accordance with the plants they resfjectively 
inhabit. (2) Although, in the torrid zone, we 
hardly ever meet with a single aboriginal 
species of plant or animal common to both 
hemispheres, yet the analogy of climate every- 
where produces analogous organic forms. Thus, 
on surveying the feathered tribes of America 
we are not only struck by their singiTlarity of 
shape or mode of life, but by the fact that 
they bear sti'iking resemblance to the feathered 
tribes in Asia, Africa, and Australia. (.3) As 
with insects, so with man. He is not less 
affected by the place of his habitation on the 
earth. His face in colour answers more or 
less to the hue of the tree-trunks, etc. ; there- 
fore to understand any people thoroughly we 
must know something of the country in which 
they live. And as with the birds of all tropical 
lands — they bear a resemblance more or less 
to each other in shape and characteristics — so 
with the human race. The dwellers in tem- 
perate climes, however widely simdered by seas 
and mountain ranges, have more or less of 
analogy one to the other ; and these adapta- 
tions and analogies of man to climate have one 
voice. They tell us of the Divine design and 
declaration in ver. 18 and 19. They give us 
food for fruitful meditation in their folio 
volume, 

" which we may read, and read, 
And read ag.ain, and still find something new. 
Something to please, and something tO' 
instruct." 



CHAP. IX. 



HOMILETIG COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



"Vine Fables ! Ver. 20. The Germans fable 
that an angel visited the earth some time after 
the subsidence of the Deluge. He discovered 
Noah sitting at noon under tlie shade of a fig 
tree, looking very disconsolate. Inquiring 
the cause of Noah's grief, he was told that the 
heat was oppressive— so oj^pressive that he 
wanted something to drink. The angel there- 
upon pointed to the rippling streams, sparkling 
fountains flowing around, and said, " Drink, 
and be refreshed." But Noah replied that he 
could not drink of these waters, because so 
many strong men, beautiful women, innocent 
children, and countless animals had been 
drowned in them by the flood. The fable 
goes on to tell how the angel then spread his 
white wings — flew up to heaven swift as a 
lightning flash, and returned with some vine 
shoots, which he taught Noah to plant and 
tend. This has no doubt as much truth as 
that other fable, which represents Satan as 
killing a lamb, a monkey, a lion, and a pig, 
and then, pouring their blood upon a vine, 
watched to see %vith glee their effects upon 
Noah. Lucretius puts it thus : 

" Dire was his thought, who first in poison 

steeped. 
The weapon formed for slaughter — direr his, 
And worthier condemnation, who instilled 
The mortal venom in the social cup. 
To fill the veins with death instead of life." 

— Dry den. 

Vineyards ! Ver. 20. It is a beautiful sight to 
see the mountain sides of Hermon and Lebanon 
so neatly terraced, cultivated, and dressed with 
the vine. What our apple-orchards are in 
England, that — and much more — are the vine- 
yards in the East. They perform for the 
Syrians a greater variety of purposes in their 
dietetic economy than our orchards do for us. 
Vineyards can thus be looked upon with 
delight ; and God's blessing can be invoked 
upon them. The scene is not one which 
suggests drunken revelry and excess. And 
the longing of the traveller is that those old, 
hoary mountains may again be terraced from 
base to summit with vine3'ards, and that the 
valleys may re-echo with the voice of the 
watchman, whose call in the vineyard to his 
fellow is, " Watchman, what of the night ? " 
*Tis enough to make 

" The sad man merry, the benevolent one 
Melt into tears — so general is the joy ! 
While up and down the cliffs, over the lake, 
Wains oxen-drawn, and paunier'd mules are 

seen, 
Laden with grapes, and dripping rosy wine." 

— Rogers. 

Vine ! Ver. 20. Macmillan says that the 
vine is one of the most extensively diffused of 
plants. In this respect it furnishes a beautiful 
emblem of the universal sprea^l of the Christian 
Church. Its early history is involved in ob- 
scurity. It is as old as the human race. Its 
cultivation was probably amongst the earliest 



efforts of human industry. It is first intro- 
duced to our notice as the cause of Noah's 
drunkenness. It is believed to be originally a 
native of the hilly region on the southern 
shores of the Caspian sea, and of the Persian 
Gulf of Ghilan. The Jews have a tradition 
that it was first planted by God's own hand 
on the fertile slopes of Hebron. There is 
another tradition, that Noah's sons, travelling 
westward, brought it with them to Canaan. 
The early culture of the vine in Egypt is 
proved by the paintings on the tombs of that 
land, where the different processes of wine- 
making are fully portrayed, and appear to be 
far more extended than the simple practice of 
squeezing the juice from the grape. These 
Egyptian pictures recall the poet's words : — 

" The vines in light festoons 
From tree to tree — the trees in avenues, 
And every avenue and cover'd walk 
Hung with ripe clusters." 

Wine and Heat! Ver. 20. (1) In the 

East the sherbet of the winter and spring is 
made of orange blossoms. It is very sweet, 
rich in perfume, and pleasant to the native 
palate ; but it is not very refi-eshing. It is, 
therefore, not adapted for the summer, for the 
hot July weather compels the stomach to 
crave an acid by wa}* of refreshment. In July 
the natives begin to use the green grape, by 
pounding it to a pumice in a mortar. Strained, 
sweetened, and diluted with water, it furnishes 
a drink which rivals our best lemonade, and 
which the mountaineer employs as a substitute. 
In August and September the grapes are used 
for making molasses, wines, vinegars, and 
jellies. These are invaluable auxiliaries in the 
hot climates of the East. (2) It is the Lord 
Jesus who says, " I am the True Vine." His 
precious blood is the vitalising juices of the 
Church and her true members ; while the ripe 
fruit-clusters of that precious blood afford 
cooling refreshment to the fevered hearts of 
the servants of God in this hot, noontide life. 
As the Syrian says that there is no drink like 
that of the July vine, and no fruit like that of 
the August grape, so the children of God say 
that there is no blood like tliat of the True 
Vine, and no fruit like that of His atonement 

" Lord of the Vineyard, we adore 
That power and grace Divine 
Which plants our wild and barren souls 
In Christ the Living Vine." 

Use and Abuse ! Ver. 20-21. On the fertile 
island of Chios lived, in ancient times, a noble 
and generous man, who had come from Asia, 
and built himself a house not far from the sea. 
On the sunny hills he had planted grapes, the 
delicious fruit of his native country. The 
vines prospered bej'ond expectati<in, and j'ielded 
the rich wine of Chios. The pious husbandman 
gave his wine to the rich and suffering, and 
they blessed the giver and his gift. One day, 
a great tempest drove a ship among the rocks, 
but the sailors and officers escaped to shore. 

197 



HOMILETIG COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP, IX. 



Here they were hospitably entertained. The 
wounded received wine, slumbered, and awoke 
strengthened and refreshed. But the sailors 
took too much wine — quarrelled — fought, and 
slew each other. The hospitable owner was 
indignant, and said, " Go back, ye evil doers, 
to the sea, for ye are not worthy to live on the 
land.'" Then, turning to the sailors restored 
and refreshed, he said, " You see, that as the 
sun which ripens the grape, and whose lustre 
beams from its gold, engenders the pernicious 
miasma when he darts his rays on corruption, 
so men may misuse the gifts of Nature to their 
own destruction : therefore, chain thy passions 
down " — 

" For if once we let them reign. 
They sweep Avith desolating train — 
'Till they but leave a hated name, 
A ruined soul, and blackened fame." 
— Coolc. 

Drink and Drvinkenness ! Ver. 20. It is 
related of a converted Armenian on the Harpoot 
mission-field, that he was a strong temperance 
man. On one occasion, disputing with a drinker 
of the native wine, he was met with the re- 
joinder, " Did not God make grapes ?" To 
this, with native warmth, the Armenian replied: 
"God made dogs ; do you eat them? God made 
poisons ; do you suck them r' While not pre- 
pared to argue after this fashion, all must admit 
the appalling follies of excessive drinking. 
Thomas Watson says that there is no sin which 
more defaces God's image than di-unkenness. 
And sadly as it mars and blots the face and 
form of the body, its deleterious and destruc- 
tive influences upon the mental powers and 
moral principles are more distressing. "Alcohol 
is a good creature of God, and I enjoy it," said 
a drinker to James Mowatt. To this he replied, 
" I dare say that rattlesnakes, boa-constrictors, 
and alligators are good creatures of God, but 
you do not enjoy swallowing them by the half- 
dozen," As Guthrie says, "No doubt, in one 
sense, it is a creature of God ; and so are 
arsenic, oil of vitriol, and prussic acid. People 
do not toss off glasses of prussic acid, and call 
it a creature of God" — 

"Ah ! false fiend. 
In whose perfidious eye damnation lurks, 
A chalice in his hand of sparkling wine 
Whereof who drinks must die ; and on his lip 
Kisses and smiles, and everlasting woe." 

— Bichersteth. 

Noah's Nakedness ! Ver. 21. Noah was 
perfect in his generation. Canova's marble 
plinth was perfect in comparison with many 
other marble blocks, veined with glaring 
flaws. Noah's wealth and conversation were 
far above the lives and hearts of his day and 
generation. It was not absolute perfection, 
such as may be predicated of an angel. This 
explains his subsequent fall. By his very 
singularity and prominence he attracts atten- 
tion - standing alone among millions, a solitary 
monument of glory amid universal disgrace. 

198 



But the " Canova " eye of Infinite Purity 
Ijerceives the flaw. How sad to read, after 
the noble testimony borne to his character — 
after witnessing the terrible infliction of 
judgment, that Noah was drunken. It (1) 
Shows how frail man is at his best ; (2) 
Suggests how dependent he is on Divine grace ; 
(3) Solaces the groaning believer, fearful of 
everlasting exclusion for sin ; and (4) Stig- 
matises all phases and developments of 
sensual pleasure as branches of that vipas-tree 
which God hates. Habits of intemperance 
strip off one's clothes and property, and 
uncover, disclose their mental and moral 
state. 

" Our pleasant vices 
Are made the whip to scourge us ! " 

— Shakespeare. 

Saints' Sins! Ver. 21. (1) As the photo- 
graphic art will not make the homely beaixtiful, 
nor catch a landscape without catching the 
shadow of deformity as readily as the shadow 
of beauty ; so, says Swing, the historic genius 
of the Bible gathers up all virtue and vice 
equally, and transfers it to the record — the 
one for human as divine commendation — 
the other for human as divine condemnation. 
And thus it comes to pass that we do not see 
a Hebrew nation adorned in the gay robes of 
a modern frescoe, but one that sinned against 
God : a beacon tower of warning to all future 
nations of the earth that the Merciful and All- 
gracious will by no means clear the guilty. 
(2) When the painters of the last century 
painted the great lieroes of that age, they 
threw upon their subjects the costumes of that 
day ; and now. when in our days their dresses 
seem ridiculous and create a smile, we rise 
above the dress — fasten our eye upon the firm- 
set lips, the chiselled nose and noble forehead, 
and bless God that we have such portraits of 
such giants. Just so in the Bible, its great 
heroes are all represented in the clothes they 
wore^from Noah, in the cloak of drunkenness, 
to Peter, in the robe of equivocation : and it 
is for us to let those garments alone and 
admire the matchless contour of their spiritual 
countenances, 

" Pure and unspotted as the cleanly ermine. 

Ere the hunter sulhes her with his pursuit." 

— Davenant. 

Filial Reverence! Ver. 23. (1) Lettice 
would quietly watch for her father, and as 
quietly lead him home, that none of the 
neighbours might see his shame as a drunkard. 
With what tenderness she led the reeling forni 
within doors ; and when he had flung himself 
upon his poor bed, how tenderly she covered 
him, ere she herself retired to rest. She could 
not bear the thought of friends around knowing 
that her father lived to drink. (2) Joe 
Swayne, the street Arab, had been lured to 
Sunday School by a teacher on her way. In 
conversation he had mocked over his mother's, 
propensity for drink, and jocosely described 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



her words and ways when she returned to 
their wretched garret after a deep debauch. 
At school, God's word taught and G-od's grace 
trained him to think otherwise. Child could 
not be kinder to mother than he was. No one 
ever heard him mention his mother's shame. 
Thej" coidd not honour, yet they would not 
dishonour. 

" My father ! my mother ! how true should I 

prove ! 
How well should I serve you, how f aitlifully 

love !" 

Afterwards! Ver. 24. Deep within an 
adjoining forest was a dell, where the beams 
of the sun scarcely ever penetrated. Tall 
trees grew on either side, whose branches, 
meeting above, formed a canopy of leaves, 
where the birds built their nests, and poured 
forth happy songs. Here the awakened 
drunkard bent his steps. It had been his 
favourite haunt in the days of his childhood ; 
and as he threw himself upon the soft green 
sward, the recollections of past scenes came 
crowding over his mind. He thought of the 
narrow escape he had had but a few weeks 
before, when the mountain floods tiirned the 
river and swept away houses and neighbours, 
his own home and family narrowly escaping. 
He covered his face with his hands and 
groaned deeply. Suddenly a soft arm was 
thrown round his neck, and a sweet voice 
resounded in his ear, " God will forgive you, 
father." What were Noah's feelings when he 
awoke from his drunken sleep ? He was the 
penitent first, the prophet afterwards. 

"Deep in his soul conviction's ploughshare 

rings. 
And to the surface his corruption brings ; 
He loathes himself, in lowest dust he lies. 
And all abased, 'Unclean! unclean !' he cries." 

— Holmes. 

Nazarite Abstinence! Ver. 24. Law re- 
marks that, as no juice of the grape, from 
kernel unto husk, was to pass the consecrated 
lips of tlie Nazarite, so Christians should sedu- 
lously flee whatever, like the juice of grape, 
may tend to weaken the firm energy, or stir up 
the sleeping brood of sensual and imgodly lusts. 
Touch not the kernel, nor the husk. Flee not 
•strong potions only, but all that may insidiously 
corrupt the taste. Avoid them. They are 
the cancer's touch. They are the weed's first 
seed. Rapidly they grow — fatally they spread 
— mightily they strengthen — and soon they 
pervade the enervated soul. And as 

" In some fair virgin's bosom a small spot, 
As if a thorn had prick'd the delicate skin, 
Kises and spreads an ever-fretting sore. 
Creeping from limb to limb, corrosive, foul. 
Until the miserable leper lives 
A dying life, and dies a living death." 

— Bickersteth, 

Wine- Woes ! Ver. 25. " A glass of ^v^ne 
did it." Such was the close of a traveller's 



narrative. A partner in one of the largest 
New York houses, he was now striving to earn 
a scanty livelihood as a commercial traveller. 
One of the partners had gone south to collect 
large sums due to the firm. He was successful 
in his purpose, and arrived at New Orleans on 
his way home. He ventured to drink wine, 
contrary to custom — became drunk — and in 
his sleep was robbed of all. Next day the 
telegraph brought the news ; the firm became 
bankrupt ; the families of the partners were 
broken up and separated. Some of the chil- 
dren lost their education — some of them mixed 
with street Arabs — and one of them died pre- 
maturely on the scaffold. The present genera- 
tions of descendants are suffering more or less 
from that one glass of wine. » Noah's over- 
indulgence has touched the whole sea of Ham's 
family life downwards, even as the pebble cast 
into the pool ripples and ruffles in ever-\viden- 
ing circles the whole surface of the water. 

" Oh ! fatal drinking ! oh ! accursed draught ! 
Ye stained the streams of time with shame 

and death ! 
No crystal streamlet from the fountain flows. 
The source is tinged with crime, and stained 
with woes." — MurTc. 

Human Race! Ver. 27. In the history of 
each of these great di%'isions of mankind, 
the characteristic sentence of Noah — legibly 
inscribed at the present time upon the nations 
that respectively owe their origin to Shem, 
Ham, and Japhet — it seems impossible to 
refuse our assent to the inspiration of Moses. 
As Redford remarks, " No impostor, and no 
mere philosopher, would have ventured upon 
such sweejjing sentences — views so general, 
characteristics so peculiar. The correspond- 
ences between the historical facts and the 
written record are such as no ingenuity— no 
penetration, no calculation of human reason — 
could have anticipated. (1) Who could have 
foreseen — at the age at which we are sure 
Moses wrote — that the Africans would not 
emerge and become the conquerors of Europe ? 
Yet Moses plainly declares here that they 
should not. (2) Or, who could have predicted 
that the Asiatics, then comprising all the 
mighty empires, and almost all the civilised 
world, would not overrun and subdue all the 
rest ? Yet Moses plainly declares here that 
they should not. (3) Or, who could have de- 
termined that the Japhet race of Europe, then 
as uncivilised and degraded as Africa is now, 
should become the predominant section of 
mankind, vanquish the vast empires of the 
East, dwell in the tents of Shem, and make 
Africa its servant? Yet Moses plainly de- 
clares here that they should. Therefore we 
have a choice between the fancy that verses 
26-27 have been written within the last 
century, and the fact that He who knows the 
end from the beginning 
" Pre-ordered and announced the ebb and flow 

Of nations and of tribes— offspring of Noah's 
sons." 

199 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. IX. 



Noah's Death! Ver. 28, 29. The Jews have 
a myth of Noah, that on his deathbed he 
ordered his children to bring him wine spark- 
ling in a beautiful cup. Holding it in his hand, 
he spoke to them of the vine. Let the vine be 
an emblem to you of your dignity, for it is full 
of weakness. (1) Yet, as it creeps in the dust 
until the elm tree offers its aid, and then rises 
and gains strength by twining itself around the 
branches, so man is weak until he twines 
himself round the outstretched arm of God. 
(2) Again, as the firm tree offers its supporting 
branches to the humble vine, in order that its 
hundred tendrils may wreathe themselves 
upwards nearer heaven, so God graciously 
offers His mighty ai-m for man's soul to 



entwine his affections heavenward. (3) Again, 
as the vine draws its nourishment of life from 
the earth, while on high it forms the coarser 
material into the leaf, and blossom, and refresh- 
ing grape, so should man. For as the vine 
needs light from above to i^ervade and in- 
vigorate, so man's heart requires God's light 
to stablish it. Then Noah gave them each the 
cup of wine ; then drank thereof himself, and 
died. 

" No further seek his merits to disclose, 

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode ; 

There they abide in trembling hope rej^ose, 
The bosom of his Father and his God." 

— Southey. 



ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER X. 



BT THE 



KEV. WM. ADAMSON. 



Scripture Strata! Ver. 1-31. (1) Geologists 
have found great truths embedded in the eart'n's 
strata. Enduring traces left behind by the 
eruption of the volcano and the tranquil lapse 
of the waves on the beach — faint but indelible 
footprints of creatures which crawled over the 
soft mud — ripple marks of primeval seas whose 
murmurs passed into silence countless ages ago 
— circular and oval hollows produced by 
showers of rain which no eye witnessed, and 
which fell on no waving cornfield or flowery 
meadow — impressions caused by viewless winds 
indicating the strength of their currents and 
the direction in which they moved ; all these 
have taught great scientific truths. (2) Is the 
Book of Revelation — with its strata pregnant 
of the annals of the human race — different, in 
this respect, from the Book of Nature ? Both 
are by the same author, and just as the student 
of the geological sti-ata reasons, as well as infers 
from his records, so may the student of the 
Scripture strata reason and infer from his annals. 
The names here are full of significance. They 
are the ripple marks telling of tides of human 
thought and action — impressions caused by the 
currents of human conception and purpose 
under the great wonder-working God ! 

" O strange mosaic 1 wondrously inlaid 
Are all its depths of shade, 
With beauteous stones of promise, marbles 
fair." 

ToldothBeniNoah! Ver. 1-32. (l)Rawlinson 
says that this genealogy of the sons of Noah is 
the most authentic record that we possess for 
the affiliation of nations. Kalisch says that it 
is an unparalleled list — the combined result of 
reflection and deep research, and no less valu- 
able as a historical document than as a lasting 
proof of the brilliant capacity of the Hebrew 
mind. (2) It is indisputable that the ma- 
jority of scientific ethnologists regard this 
record as of the very highest value. Ethnolo- 
gical science has established a triple division of 
200 



mankind, and speaks of all races as either 
Semitic, Aryan, or Turanian. And certainly 
Gen. X. may be regarded as a document fur- 
nishing an ethnological arrangement of man- 
kind under three heads. (3) The particular 
allotment, or portion of each, after their fami- 
lies, &c., is distinctly specified. And although 
the different nations descended from any one 
of the sons of Noah have intermingled with 
each other, and undergone many revolutions — 
even as the various sti'ata of the earth have 
been dislocated, and undergone convulsions — 
yet the three great divisions of the world 
remain intact and distinct, as separately 
peopled and possessed of the posterity of each 
of the sons of Noah, by the holy will and wis- 
dom of Him whose purpose is fixed, and whose 
counsel shall stand, to make all things new. 

" Is blessing built upon such dark foundation ! 
And can a temple rising from such woe, 
Rising ujjon such mournful crypts below, 

Be filled with light and joy and sounding 
adoration ? " 

Human Unity ! Ver. 1. (1) Humboldt 
funishes an interesting suggestion as to the unity 
of the human race. In a letter to Dr. Ahrendt 
at Guatemala, he asks whether the idols 
Bhudda in India, Woden in Western Europe, 
and Votan in Central America — all of which 
gave name to the Wednesday of the week — 
are not the same, evidencing most distinctly a 
unity of origin. (2) Forbes and Pickering 
have apparently established the fact that, in 
regard to the animal and vegetable families, 
these have not been created in particular 
centres, and that Nature has not reproduced 
any species in different quarters of the globe. 
It may, therefore, be reasonably inferred that 
different human races have not been created in 
different centres. (3) The unity of the human 
race, as detailed in Gen. x., may further be 
inferred from the scientific discovery that there 
is a marked similarity between the blood cor- 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



puscles of all races of men, and that, as Ragg 
remarks, while blood has been transfused from 
human veins without failure, a transfusion 
from different sjjecies to man has invariably 
proved fatal. And 

" Now this truth is felt — believed and felt — 
That men are really of one common stock ; 
That no man ever bath been more than man." 

— Pollock. 

Human Diversity! Ver. 1. ^1) It has been 
argued that when God, who from the beginning 
determined the bounds of man's habitation, 
parcelled out the earth among the sons of 
Noah, it is reasonable to conceive that He 
gave them an adaptation to the portions He 
allotted them, or endued them with an un- 
usually plastic power, by which the race of 
Ham became indigenous in Africa, the race 
of Shem in Asia, and that of Japhet in 
Europe's colder clime. (2) One fact in support 
of this argument may be drawn from the 
adaptation of all animal and vegetable matter 
to their respective peculiar spheres and pur- 
poses. Geology has discovered to us that each 
new and successive creation formed a harmo- 
nious part of the great whole. Yet how 
diversified they each and all are — a diversity 
explicable to students of Nature by law of pre- 
adaptation. (3) It has been remarked over 
and over again that there is no exception to 
this range of adaptation ; so that we may 
fairly include the Shem, Ham, and Japhet 
diversities. And when we remember that 
there is no indication in any quarter of sepa- 
rate creations, we realise the grand Scripture 
assertion of human origin — as of all creation — 

*' Shade unperceived, so softening into shade. 
And all so forming one harmonious whole." 

Human Origin! Ver. 1. Shem, Ham, and 
Japhet were bretliren, yet how different the 
races of the three originals. Is the Scripture 
record wrong '! or has climate produced the 
remarkabJe diversity of hue, etc. ? Most care- 
ful investigation has established the fact that 
the differences arise from differences in cli- 
mate. (1) Ragg says that it has been found 
that, in a very few generations, the fair Euro- 
pean of Shemetic or Japetan race became dark 
within the tropics. Bishop Heber says that 
the descendants of Europeans in India have 
totally changed their colour, though they have 
not lived as exposed to the influences of the 
sun as uncivilised or barbarian races. Dr. 
Wiseman shows that the Portuguese who have 
been naturalised in the African colonies of 
their nation have become entirely black. (2) 
This is observable in the Jews. In the plains 
of the Ganges the Jew puts on the jet black 
skin and crisped hair of the native Hindoo. 
In milder climates he wears the natural dusky 
hue and dark hair of the inhabitant of Syria. 
Under the cooler sky of Poland and Germany 
he assumes the light hair and fair, ruddy com- 
plexion of the Anglo-Saxon. Smythe says 



that on the Malabar coast of Hindostan are 
two colonies of Jews — the elder colony black, 
and the younger comparatively fair, in exact 
proportion to the length of their sojourn there. 

*' Amazing race I deprived of land and laws, 
A general language, and a public cause ; 
With a religion none can now obey. 
With a reproach that none can take away." 

— Crahbc. 

Heathen History ! Vers. 2-30. (1) The 
history of almost all ancient peoples show, at 
their commencement, a number of mytholo- 
gical stories, as in Greece, Rome, and Britain, 
which are of great interest in regard to any 
inquiries into their origin and early history. 
There are traces of a large and singularly rich 
collection of these legends, both in Assyria 
and in Babylonia. A good example of such 
documents is the cuneiform account of the 
descent of the goddess Ishtar into Hades — she 
who conceived an ardent passion for Nimrod. 
The whole account is most curious, as showing 
the religious opinions of that age ; and the 
story has some striking parallels in the poems 
and legendary stories of other and later coun- 
tries. (2) Contrast all these heathen histories 
with the unique Sacred History. Legends and 
portents there are none. The history of the 
origin of nations is unrivalled for its stern sim- 
plicity — its freedom from all wonderful details. 
Free and natural as the plan of a river, it 
begins at the source in Noah, and flows on in 
quiet, easy course, with an entire absence of 
all portents and prodigies, such as make 
heathen history ridiculous even to children. 

" They, and they only, amongst all mankind, 
Received the transcript of the Eternal Mind ; 
Were trusted with His own engraven laws, 
And constituted guardians of His cause." 

— Coivper. 

Bible Annals I Ver. 2-31. (1) An eminent 
professor says that there are glories in the 
Bible on which the eye of man has not gazed 
sufficiently long to admire them. There are 
notes struck in places which, like some dis- 
coveries of science, have sounded before their 
time, and only after many days been caught 
up, and found a response on the earth. There 
are germs of truth which, after thousands of 
years, have never yet taken root in the world. 
(2) Jukes remarks on the names here that in 
them we have the true theory of development, 
given by One who cannot lie, and given for 
our learning and instruction in righteousness. 
It would be full of deepest interest to trace the 
course of these different families through their 
successive generations. For in them (he 
thinks) is prefigured the parentage and birth of 
every sect and heresy which has sprung up, 
and troubled the bosom of the regenerate 
Church ; and which 

" As prowls a pack of lean and hungry wolves. 
Driven by fierce winter from Siberian steppes. 
Around a camp's bright flashing fires, have fix'd 
Their ravenous glances on the Bride of Christ," 

201 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. X. 



Life Architecture ! Ver. 2-14. (1) Carlyle 
remarks that, instead of saying that man is 
the creature of circumstance, it would be 
nearer the mark to say that man is the archi- 
tect of circumstance. It is character that builds 
an existence out of circumstance. Thus it is 
that in the same family, in the same circum- 
stances, one man rears a stately edifice, while 
his brother, vacillating and incompetent, lives 
in a hovel. The block of granite, which was 
an obstacle in the pathway of the weak, 
becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of 
the strong. (2) The Hamertons were brothers ; 
both were nearly of an age, and both were 
brought up in the same home. In due time 
both attended the same seminary, and both 
entered upon the theatre of life under parallel 
advantages and disadvantages. The elder was 
of ordinary mind, liked by the world for his 
frank, openhanded spirit, but entirely void of 
energy, fixedness of purpose and forethought. 
The younger resolutely set himself to establish 
a name and a fame, and he succeeded. The 
difiiculties which seemed to the elder colossal 
and insurmountable became steps of a stair- 
case up which the younger climbed. (3) 
Nimrod, a man of immense ambition, and 
endured with a resolute mind firm as iron, 
soon began to tower above his fellows. In 
Carlyle's sense, he became the architect of 
circumstance— building upon the foundation 
of pride a huge fabric of power, which held 
in awe his foes, and secured the admiration 
of his friends. Yet of him and others we may 
ask — 

" Where are the heroes of the ages past ? 
Where the brave chieftains, where the mighty 

ones 
Who flourished in the infancy of days ? 
All to the grave gone down." — White. 

Church and World ! Ver. 2-31. From the 
very first we seem to have two divisions of 
men. These the Judge is marking off, as the 
shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats. 
Before the Deluge, we had the distinct divisions 
of men in the persons of Cain and Seth — 
Lamech and Enoch. We may call these the 
Church and the Worhl. The Church is that 
body which is chosen and separated by God 
(1) to testify to things unseen, to the 
existence of God— His love — power — judg- 
ment ; and (2) to teach men that the world 
which is passeth away. The World is that 
spirit which loves nothing, and looks for nothing 
save that which is now. It cares not for God, 
neither has God in all its thoughts. It re- 
cognises only things which are visible, and 
esteems the invisible as empty shadow and 
dreamland. Under its deadly prince, it is 
ever against the Church, 

*• Weaving its snares, and plying arts to draw 
From God's allegiance all the sons of men. 
And so to reign without a rival there — 
The whole round earth its theme for ever." 

Oomer ! Ver. 2. Japhet's eldest son seems 
202 



to have gone to the shores around the Sea of 
Azof, especially the peninsula. His children 
were called Cimmerians, and the name of the 
Crimea is a relic. That place was thought 
then to be next door to the infernal regions. 
It was supposed that the people could not see 
much of the sun because of the clouds and 
mists of their savage country. Here Gomer's 
children dwelt until the Scythians drove them 
west. They took possession of Denmark, and 
the northern coast of Germany and Belgium, 
tmtil, in the time of the Ilomans, they were 
known as the Cimbri. They crossed over into 
Britain, but were driven to the north and west, 
i.e., Wales and Scotland. Here came the 
truth of Christ to them. 

" And then, o'er all the trouble of their day, 
A downy veil of tranquil stillness stole. 
And with Truth's arm beneath their head 

they feel 
It is God's heart on which they rest so safe." 

— Williams. 

Magog ! Ver. 2. (1) The children of Magog 
were the wild hordes of men who inhabited 
Northern Asia ; beginning at the east of the 
Caspian Sea, and spreading north and north- 
east into the cold and savage regions of those 
parts. They were the Scythians, a terrible and 
fierce people. They were said to be the 
inventors of the bow and arrow, and they were 
great at the use of them on horseback. Just 
prior to the time of Ezekiel, the Scythians — 
or children of Magog— were driven out by 
another tribe. Going southward, they spread 
terror everywhere. (2) Ezekiel took them as 
a type of the foes of the church. In his awful 
predictions of Gog and Magog he foretells with 
what an overthrow the Lord would destroy 
them. In the latter days the Church should 
suffer terribly from their cruel, fierce incursions. 
Magog thus typifies the great adversaries of 
the Church at the dawn and diisk of the 
Millennial eventide. Two woeful invasions 
is that Church to know ; but the authors of 
each of them are to experience a corresponding 
woeful overthrow, when nearer and nearer 
still 

" The rush of flaming millions, and the tramp 
Like as of fiery chivalry. But, hark ! 
A voice ; it is the shout of God. Behold ! 
A light; it is the glory of the Lord." 

— BicherstetJi, 

Madai ! Ver. 2. The father of the Medes — 
among the bitterest enemies of Assyria. They 
lived on the other side of the Zagros range, 
which separated them from the Assyrians. A 
hardy race of tribes, governed by sheikhs. 
They were united by Cyaxares the Great intO' 
one kingdom. He then conquered Assyria ; sO' 
that the children of Madai became the third 
great Eastern empire. The northern part was, 
and still is. a fine fertile country, with a tem- 
perate climate. It grows all kinds of corn, 
wine, silk, and delicious fruits. Tabreez is a 
beautiful place — a forest of orchards. Farther 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



south there is a lovely mountainous country, 
where everything grows — cotton, Indian corn, 
tobacco, wheat, wine, and every variety of 
fruit. These sweet glimpses of Nature's 
beauty and fruitfulness send us (1) back to the 
time when all the earth was fair, and (2) 
forward to the time when the earth shall be 
again an Eden. 

"And Nature haste her earliest wreaths to 

bring, 
With all the incense of the breathing spring ! 
When vines a shadow to our race shall yield, 
When the same hand that sowed shall reap 

the field. 
When leafless shrubs the flowery palms 

succeed. 
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed." 

— Pope. 

Hamites! Ver. 6-14. The Cushites were 
in Ethiopia — the children of Mizraim in Egypt 
— the descendants of Phut also in Egypt and 
Ethiopia — and the offspring of Canaan in 
Syria. All these became great nations. They 
established themselves in great power. They 
had arts and accomplishments superior to other 
peoples at that day. Homes of civilisation 
grew up from a Hamite stock in many a place. 
They were merchants and builders, and people 
of great ability in forming and establishing 
empire. Wherever they were the}' left traces 
of themselves. Very massive pieces of archi- 
tecture, which once must have belonged to a 
magnificent nation ; a peculiar mixture of 
language ; and a native religion in part, at 
least, of low creature-worship — all these are 
before us. On our Thames Embankment rises 
a monument of the race of Ham, in the shape 
of Cleopatra's Needle ; while towering amid 
nature's desolation in Egypt are the pyramids 
— those silent records — 

" Those deathless monuments which alone do 

show 
What, and how great, the Mizraite empire 

was." 

Human Helplessness! Ver.8-14. (1) Kings - 
ley says, that men in the mass are the tools 
of circumstance. They are thistle-down on 
the breeze — straw on the river. Their course 
is shaped for them by the currents and eddies 
of the stream of life. This was not what man 
was meant to be ; and in proportion as he 
approaches the Divine ideal does he cease to 
be the mere tool of circumstance. In pro- 
portion as he recovers his humanity — both 
physically and psychically — in proportion does 
he rise above circumstance, moulding and 
fashioning circumstance to suit his purpose. 
(2) This explains the rise of such men from 
among the mass as Nimrod, Caesar, and 
Napoleon, in the sphere of ambition and 
conquest. And the same key unlocks many a 
cabinet in the halls of science and art — learning 
and commerce. This power Divine grace lays 
hold upon — refines and sanctifies it, so that the 
Christian becomes a marked man among his 



fellows — eminent not for conquest over others 
so much as over himself, and distinguished by 
the loftiest of all ambitions to become conformed 
to the image of God. With such, ambition 
becomes a virtue : and at last around his brow 
shall shine 

" In heaven from glory's source the purest beam, 
Whose aspect here, with beauty most divine, 
Reflects the image of the Good Supreme." 

— Manf. 

Nimrod-Myths ! Ver. 9. (1) By the Greek 
mythologists Orion was supposed to be a 
celebrated hunter, superior to the rest of man- 
kind in strength and stature, whose mighty 
deeds entitled him after death to the honours 
of an apotheosis. The Orientals imagined him 
to be a huge giant who. Titan-like, had warred 
against God, and was therefore bound in chains 
to the firmament of heaven. Some authors 
have conjectured that this notion is the origin 
of the history of Nimrod, who, according to 
Jewish tradition, instigated the descendants 
of Noah to build the Tower of Babel. (2) la 
the cuneiform tablets or Chaldean legends, 
deciphered by Smith, there are some curious 
details about him. These details are loaded 
with miraculous and impossible stories, from 
which it is impossible to sej^arate the historical 
matter. He is reported to have been a 
Babylonian chief, celebrated for his prowess. 
He was also a mighty hunter and ruler of men, 
who delivered the city of Erech, when the 
chief of a neighbouring race came down with 
a force of men and ships against it. He after- 
wards ruled over it. 

" Here Nimrod, his empire raised supreme. 
And empire out of ruined empire built ; 
His greater than the last, and worse by far." 

Supremacy ! Ver. 9. 1. Nimrod exalts 
himself to lord it over brethren ; for of those 
over whom he ruled all had sprung — and 
within a few generations— from one common 
father. Little is told us of the second form of 
apostasy ; but that little is enough, and indeed, 
the steps by which lordship over brethren is 
reached are not many. Jukes asserts that his 
very name (Rebel) points out the character of 
those actings, by which the family and patri- 
archial government instituted by God was 
changed into a kingdom ruled by violence. 
There appears to be two steps here : (1) 
Nimrod becomes a mighty one, then (2) he 
becomes a mighty hunter of beasts and men. 
2. It was so in Israel, when that people desired 
a king. Saul became a mighty one; then 
followed the natural sequence in the descent of 
evil, and he became a mighty hunter. Nimrod 
again appeared after the resurrection of Christ. 
Home began to be mighty — like Nimrod and 
Saul to grow up tall and towering trunks above 
its fellow-churches. Then as the trunk spreads 
forth its branches over smaller surrounding 
trees, Kome became a mighty hunter. Spiri- 
tual dominion became a spirit of domination 
— hunting souls — imposing a grievous yoke 

203 



HOMILETIC COMMENTABT: GENESIS. 



•npon them. See Rev. siii : where tlie arch- 
adversary is represented as building for his 
harlot bride a mystical metropolis — 

*' The haunt of devils, Babylon the Great, 
Whence in her pride and pomp she might 

allure 
The nations, as the peerless queen of heaven. 
Mother and mistress of all lands. 

— Blchersteth. 



Erech! Ver. 10. (1) Wurka is a vast mound, 
now called " Assagah/' or the place of pebbles. 
It was probably a city consecrated to the moon, 
i.e., a kind of necropolis. Great numbers of 
tombs and coffins have been found here. The 
arrow-headed account of the Flood, recently 
discovered and translated by Smith, was a 
copy of an original inscription at this place. 
Thus the existence of this city thousands of 
years ago is established by the discovery of 
tiles or slabs in its neighbourhood at this date, 
recording the fact of the Flood in chap. is. 
(2) As of Xineveh, so may we not say of 
Erech, that it remained quiet in its sepulchre, 
till an age like the present, when the reality 
of its evidence to the truth of revelation could 
be properly attested. He who is nature's 
Creator and Preserver has kept Erech and 
other ruins hermetically sealed to give evidence 
to the truth of His Word in an age when that 
evidence cannot be lost, and when that Word 
in its truth is called in question. So great is 
Hi-; power, wisdom, and goodness ! 

" Some are filled with fairy pictures. 
Half imagined and half seen ; 

Eadiant faces, fretted towers. 

Sunset colours, starry flowers. 
Wondrous arabesques between." 

— Havcrgal. 



Nimrod. Memorials '. Ter. 10. Nimrod's 
name still lives in the mouths of the Arabs. 
A traveller says, '' I shall not soon forget 
when I first heard his name from one of them. 
We were going down the Tigris on a raft. 
Towards evening — one pleasant evening in 
spring — we came nea.r an immense heap of 
ruins on the eastern bank of the river. It was 
all green then, as the Assyrian ruins are after 
the great rains. The moimd and meadows 
around this ruin were all fresh and green, and 
full of flowers of every colour. The ruins 
looked very like a natural hill, but for the 
pieces of pottery, and brick, and alabaster half 
hid among the grass. The river was swollen 
from the rain, and rushed along rather furiovisly. 
A sort of dam — a large piece of mason work — 
stretched across it. Over this, and around, 
the waters whirled and eddied, and made a 
tolerably large cataract. We went over safely 
with a dash. My Arab boatman then went 
through his religaous exclamatioiis, which the 
danger had called up : after which he told me 
that the dam had been built by Nimrod, and 
that it was the remains of a causeway which 

204 



he had to enable him to pass from his city to 
a palace on the opposite bank."' 

" Ah ! who that walks where men of ancient 
days 
Have wrought, with godlike arm, the deeds 

of praise. 
Feels not the spirit of the place control, 
Or rouse and agitate his labouring soul ? " 
— WordsyxirUu 

World-Powers! Ver. 10. (1) As the Apostle 
stands on the sands of Patmos — the waves of 
the ..Egean sea roUing at his feet — he sees 
emerging from the bosom of the deep a 
hideous monster — somewhat akin to, yet differ- 
ing from the great red dr.agon. This new 
fiendish incarnation, Macduff notes, has seven 
heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten 
crowns, and upon his heads the name of blas- 
phemy. These heads and horns are the well 
known symbols of world power — indicating a 
mighty hunter, a Nimrod. (2) Presently, 
another beast rises from the earth — a giant 
deceiver, and exacting homage from them 
which dwell on the earth . The previous mon- 
ster of the sea was the representative of brute 
force ; this monster of the land is that of 
moral despotism. Its weapons are moral and 
spiritual. Its subject and crouching victims 
are the depraved intellect — the enslaved con- 
science — the fettered will of nations and men. 
Material and moral, physical and psychichal 
antitypes of Nimrod. 

" Couching its fell designs in lamblike guise, 
It sent through earth its legionary spirits, 
And led the shepherds of the silly sheep 
Blindfold, and blinding others, to adore 
The beast, whose deadly wound was healed." 

Asshtir ! Ter. 11, 12, etc. Heeren in his 
'• Handbook " of the History of States remarks 
that history proper — i.e.. the history of States 
first dawns upon us in the Genesis x. In ver. 
11, etc., we are told that Asshur, having pre- 
^•iously dwelt in Babylon, went oixt before the 
Cushites, and foimded the great Assyrian 
cities. This leads us to infer that the Assyrians, 
having been originally inhabitants of the low 
country, emigrated northwards, leaving their 
previous seats to a people of a different origin. 
And thus we are drawn to conclude (1) that 
Babylon was built before Nineveh ; (2) that 
Babylon did not, as Diodorus asserts, owe its 
origin to the conquest of the country by an 
Assyrian princess ; but that (3) the early 
Babylonians were an entirely distinct race from 
the Assyrians ; and that ^4) a Babylonian 
kingdom flourished before there was any in- 
dependent Assyria. It is interesting to notice, 
as Loftus points out, that the spread of 
Asshur's race — after leaving Babylonia — is 
northwards stage by stage, Asshur, Calah, 
Nineveh. The Book of Nahum is ass\iredly 
prophetic of the destruction of Nineveh. 
According to him, Nineveh was not only to be 
destroyed by an overflowing flood, but the fire 
also was to devour it. Heathen history— 



CH^VP. X, 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



ignorant of holy prophecy — declai'es such was 
the case. Lately, the buried arts of the 
AssjTrian have been recovered from beneath 
the dust J as may be learned from Layard's 
Nineveh. It disclo.ses that God is the Lord of 
Hosts, and that all the vain glories of the 
proudest mortals perish at His word. 

" Cities have been, and vanished, fanes have 

sunk, 
Heaped into shapeless ruin, sands o'erspread 
Fields that were Eden." — Percival. 



Divine Methods! Ver. 21. (1) In Cana, 
the governor of the feast addressing the bride- 
groom admits that it is man's ordinary course 
to bring forth the best wine, and afterwards 
that which is of inferior quality. That admis- 
sion is true, if we are to accept the recoi'ds of 
universal history down to our own days. Man 
invariably puts the best fruit uppermost — 
brings the best robe forth at the beginning. 
(2) God acts otherwise. It is His ordinary 
way to keep the best to the last. Hence in 
Genesis, chaps, iv. and v., we have first Cain's 
line, then that of Seth. Again in Genesis, 
chap. XXV, we have the descendants of Ishmael, 
and then those of Isaac. Yet again in Genesis, 
chaps, xxxvi. and xxxvii., we have the detail 
first of Esau's family, and afterwards that of 
Jacob's. And so here, the Hoi}' Spirit gives 
us first the families of Japhet and of Ham, 
then that of Shem. This is explained in 
Deut. xxxii. and viii., " The Lord's portion is 
His people." 

" Holy, Father, we poor lambkins 
Out of bitter woe do bleat ; 
Strong men drive us o'er the mountains. 
Sharpest stones do pierce our feet." 

— Sadie. 



Study of Humanity! Ver. 32. (1) It has 
been noticed that the more extensive our ac- 
quaintance becomes mth other countries the 
more numerous do we find the features which 
they possess in common with our own. We 
find the repi-esentative forms of Ufe and dead 
matter which they possess to be in common 
%vith each other. In foreign countries what 
strikes the traveller most at first sight is — not 
the strange, but — the familiar look of the 
general landscape. And when the naturalist 
begins to investigate he finds that the longer 
and deeper his researches, the more and more 
numerous and striking are the resemblances of 
those forms of life to those in his own country. 

(2) This similarity is not confined to the diife- 
rent regions of our earth alone. Science is 
showing to us, more and more every day, that 
the substances of the stars are identical with 
those of our globe. Pritchard, in reference to 
spectrum analysis, says that it has not yet dis- 
covered in the remotest stellar ray a single 
new or imknown element. The meteors which 
fall are of the same constituents as our earth. 
'Tis distance only that makes them stars. 

(3) It is precisely the same with the study of 
man. The more the different human races are 
studied the more numerous and striking are 
the similarities of each and all, one to the 
other. So far from careful investigation and 
prolonged study contributing to widen the 
narrow spaces between the dift'erent races, 
they only reveal more connecting links than 
were supposed to exist between the offspring 
of Shem, Ham, and Japhet, and show us 

" How God ^^Tought with the whole — wrought 

most with what 
To man seemed weakest means, and brought 

result 
Of good from good and evil both." — PolloL 



CHAPTER XI. 



Ceitic.vl Notes. — The whole earth.] The then kno-wn world with all its human inhabitants. 
One language and of one speech.] Hch. Of one Up, and one (l-bul of) words. Murphy renders, 
" Of one lip and one stock of words," and remarks, "In the table of nations the tenn 'tongue' 
was used to signify what is here expressed by two terms. This is not undesigned. The two 
terms are not synonymous or parallel, as they form the parts of one compound predicate. 
' One stock of words,' then, we conceive, naturally indicates the matter, the substance, or the 
material of language. This was one and the same to the whole race. The term ' lip,' which 
is properly one of the organs of articulation, is, on the other hand, used to denote the form, 
that is, the manner of speaking, the mode of using and connecting the matter of speech, the 
system of laws by which the inflections and derivations of a language are conducted. . . . By 
a combination of terms expressing the two elements which go to constitute every organic 
reality." Many have held that this original language was Hebrew, but recent researches in 
comparative philology have shown that all the languages of the world can be traced to one 
original tongue, which though not identical with the Hebrew has a close affinity with it. 
2. As they journeyed.] Heh. In tlitir hreahing up. The word is used of the breaking up of an 
encampment of wandering ti-ibes for the purpose of removing from place to place. " They " 
refers to " the whole earth '' mentioned in the previous verse — the whole race of man. 
Prom the east,] " Eastward " is proved to be the meaning of the phrase by Gen. xiii. 11, where 

205 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Lot is said to journey from Bethel to the plain of the Jordan, which is to the east. The 
human race, consisting it might be of five hundred families, jom-neys eastwards with a few 
points of deflection to the south, along the Euphrates valley, and comes to a plain of sur- 
passing fertility in the land of Shinar (Murphy). A plain in the land of Shinar.] Probably the 
same as Babylonia. Herodotus describes the neighbourhood of Babylon as a great plain. 

3. And they said one to another.] Heb. A man said to his neighbour. Go to.] " A mere hortatory 
interjection, equivalent to our idiom, 'come, let us' do so and so" (Bush). The phrase suggests 
a resolute will and temper— a stern purpose to oppose the will of God. Let us make brick.] 
" The noun and verb here are kindred to each other in form. The noun is plural, meaning 
bricks and the verb means to make bricks ; both of these forms are from the word meaning to 
be white referrino- to the whitish clay of which the bricks were made " (Jacobus). The plain 
abounded in clayey soil, but was deficient in stones. Burn them thoroughly.] The common 
custom was to dry the bricks in the sun, but these are to be burnt so as to make them more durable. 
Many of these have been found in the ruins of Babylon. •' When any considerable degree of 
thickness was required, the practice in the Babylonian structures seems to have been, 
to form the mass with sun-dried bricks, and then invest it with a case of burnt bricks" 
(Bush). Slime- Heb. Bitumen. The LXX has aa-(paiXros. This was a kind of mineral 
cement of a pitchy nature. " Layard observes that the cement in the ruins is so 
tenacious that it is almost impossible to detach an entire brick from the mass " (Alford). — 

4. Whose top may reach unto heaven] Heb. And his head in the heavens. Such an expression 
is hyperbolical in other portions of Scripture, but here it seems that they indulged the hope that 
the heavens might be thus reached. The heathen fable of giants attempting to scale the 
heavens is probably a dim tradition founded on this fact. — Let us make us a name] Hence 
their purpose was not to provide against another deluge, but to transmit their fame by such a 
bold and gigantic undertaking to future generations. - 5 And the Lord came down] Speaking 
after the manner of men to denote the Divine interference. The Heb. has Jehovah both in 
this and the next verse. — 8. Behold the people is one] " One race with one purpose " 
(Murphy). They were a unity as a State, embodying one great idea.— They begin to doj 
Heb. This is their beginning to do. Such was their undertaking. — 7. Confound their language] 
" The term here rendered confound means to pour together, in a way to produce confusion of 
sounds or dialects " (Jacobus)— Th&X they may not understand one another's speech] Heb. 
One another's Up. " This is the immediate result of diversifying the formative law of human 
speech, even though the material elements were to remain much the same as before." (Murphy) 

9. Therefore is the name of it called Babel] " This name is connected with the Hebrew verb 

meaning to confound, and would mean properly confusion. But the native etymology is Bab 
II — the gate of II or El — " the gate of God." This may have been a name given to it by 
Nimrod (Smith), signifying his proud and atheistic designs, but afterwards applied (the same 
name) to express the confounding result more emphatically " (Jacobus). — 10. These are the 
generations of Shem] The genealogies are here only given in part, the %vriter'8 object being to 
trace the pedigree of Abram from Shem. — 28. Ur of the Chaldees] " Ur in Heb. means light, 
and was probably so called from the Persian idolatry of fire worship, prevalent among this 
people. Abram was called by God out of this region of idolaters, to be a follower of the true 
God" (Jacobus). — 29. The father of Iscah] This name is nowhere else mentioned. Jewish 
traditions consider it as identical with Sarai, one name having been borne before she left 
Chaldea, the other afterwards. Alford thinks that this view is inconsistent with what is 
stated in chap. xvii. 17, and remarks that " Marriage with near relatives was the practice of 
Terah's family " (Chap, xxiv 3, 4 ; xx\'iii. 1, 2). — 30- But Sarai was barren] Inserted as 
bearino- upon the following history. — 31. And Terah took Abraham his son] " Terah was an 
idolater (Josh. xxiv. 2), so that this, his journey, can hardly be supposed to have been an 
obedience on his part to that Divine intimation which we learn from the subsequent Jehovist 
account, was made to his son" (Alford). — They came unto Haran] The Greek has Charran 
(Acts vii. 2). Terah intended to go to Canaan, but stopped here, probably on account of 
increasing age and infirmity. 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 1—9. 

The Builders of Babel. 

It is a melancholy fact that the evil of our nature tends continually to 
increase, and assume a sad variety of forms. As men abide under the power of 
evil they wax worse and worse. We have an instance of this downward tendency 
in the builders of Babel. Since the flood the course of sin may be thus traced : — 
(1) In the form of sensual indulgence. The type was drunJcenness, of which 
Noah has given a sad example. (2) Disregard of parental authority. Ham is 
206 



CHAP. XI. HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



a typical example of the loss of reverence towards those who are entitled to 
claim it by the ordinance of Providence. (3) hi the form of ambition. We 
have the type in the builders of Babel. Their work was an embodiment of the 
most daring form of human iniquity, while their frustrated purpose vindicated 
the supremacy of the Divine rule. The builders of Babel raised a monument of 
human sin and folly. Let us consider the forms of evil which are illustrated by 
their work. 

I. The love of glory* By the building of a city and tower they intended to 
make for themselves a " name." They would indulge the passion for fame at 
all costs, and, therefore, engaged in these gigantic labours to secure that end. 
Such was clearly their motive. It is not likely that they built a city and a high 
tower to provide against the calamity of another flood, for we can scarcely 
suppose that they were so foolish as to think that any adequate 
provision could be made ; and even had they thought so, we can 
hardly imagine that they would have built it upon a plain. Nor is 
it probable that they intended to set up an idol's temple. They undertook this 
stupendous work for the glory of their own name, and not for that of an idol. 
Babel contained the germ of the worship of humanity rather than the ordinary 
forms of idolatry. These men wanted to raise a monument to their own glory. 
This has ever been the cry of ambitious men — to make a name. There is a 
healthy form of ambition when a man allows a noble purpose to be dominated 
by conscience. To the firmness and determination which comes from an 
ambition so regulated we owe some of the greatest reforms in social manners, 
politics, and religion. But with ordinary human nature, ambition takes the 
worst forms. Men make their own greatness and fame the principal concern of 
life, till the pursuit of these becomes an absorbing passion by which they are so 
blinded that they defy the Supreme Ruler of all, and presume to His place. 
What an example have we of human ambition in that thirst for universal 
dominion which has infected all nations from the earliest times, and still rao-es 
throughout the world !_ To this may be traced many of the evils that afflict 
society — chiefly war, with all the awful calamities which it brings. This sin of 
ambition issues in most powerful evils, as it is, for the most part, the temptation 
of strong characters. 1. The boldest schemes of ambition are generally the 
work of a few. One man, such as Nimrod, conceives an ambitious scheme and 
gathers a few like-minded with himself around him. These influence the many, 
who possess no ability to take the lead, and who are, therefore, ready to obey 
the command of superiors. The people do not originate the great ideas and 
schemes which rule the world. They adopt those of others. History illustrates 
thegood and evil forms which this fact assumes. The builders of Babel saw 
their own glory reflected in the many who assisted in carrying out their schemes. 
2. Such ambition involves the slavery of the many. The multitude rush eao-erly 
to carry out the designs of a few bold and clever minds, but end in becomino- 
their slaves. The ambition of the great often results in the death of liberty * 

II. False ideas of the unity of the race. God's purpose was that men should 
spread over the world, and become influential and great by conquering difficulties 
and subduing all things to their use. This would seem to have the effect of 
dividing the human family, and in the end causing a loss of the sense of unity. 
Hence the builders of Babel thought that they would prevent such a result' 
They would devise means by which the people should be one— a compact 
brotherhood. But the Divine idea of the unity of the human race was far 
different. God's plan was to secure unity by diversity, as He does throughout 
all His works in the natural world. He intended that the true unity of humlmity 
should be spiritual— an invisible tie by which men are bound to Himself and to one 
another by the bonds of faith, obedience, and love. These ambitious men had false 
ideas as to what constituted the true unity of the race. 1. T/iey thought that it teas 

207 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. chap. xr. 



external. Hence they built a " city " and a " tower." They provided that they 
should dwell together, bound by the ties of a common interest. They sought, by 
means wholly external and artificial, to make themselves one people — a compact 
body, with a strong defence against all disasters. Men have ever sought to make 
themselves great by the city and the tower. 2. They held that the individual 
must he sacrificed to the outward grandeur of the State. This is the genius of 
all Babel- building, to make the city supreme, and to sink the individual. All 
must be sacrificed to one idea : the nation — State — Constitution. It is not 
v/ithin the province of worldly ambition to recognise the sublime importance of 
the individual soul. Hence the conflict between the policies of statecraft and 
the interests of true religion. This exaltation of the State above the individual 
has (1) A political form. The great nations of antiquity strove for universal 
dominion, and in the pursuit of it trampled upon the dearest interests of 
men. Ancient Rome sought to make mankind one by the power of the sword. 
Whatever evils might be inflicted upon humanity, the city and the emperor 
must be great. The rage for conquest and dominion must end in the glorifica- 
tion of the few and the degradation of the many. (2) An ecclesiastical form. 
In the history of Christianity we can trace the attempt to magnify the Church 
at the expense of the individual. The Church must be maintained in outward 
grandeur and influence, though to secure that end souls must be held in the 
bondage of error and superstition. The Roman pontifts presumed to govern 
the Church from an earthly centre, and to subject all Christendom to their 
dominion. This is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Christ, which 
asserts that the Church is to be governed invisibly by the Holy Spirit. That 
Spirit guides believers as a community, bearing the witness of God to the 
children of tlie world, but at the same time enters into each man by himself, 
making the individual soul his temple. Ecclesiastical-Babel builders attempt 
to destroy the Divine order by their glorification of what is external, and does 
not belong to the real essence of Christian life. 

III. Presuming to place themselves above Providence. In their wild 
ambition, they designed a tower whose top should " reach to heaven." This 
was an attempt to cast off the control of Providence and to become a Providence 
to themselves. It was, in eff"ect, presuming to the place of the Most High. 
Such is the pride of men. They cast off the rule of God, seek to pierce the 
very heavens, and to acknowledge nothing above themselves. When God is 
shut out from the direction of human affairs, then there is no limit placed to 
man's blasphemous presumption except the arrest of it by Divine judgment. 
1. God interferes in all matters ivhich threaten His government. It is true that 
God continually governs mankind ; yet there are certain junctures of human 
history in which His interference is specially manifest. God reigns in nature, 
which, in its ordinary course, reveals His power as much as any miracles ; still, 
a miracle affords a distinct evidence of the working of a will. So in this 
instance, when the pride of man presumed so far, God manifestly and distinctly 
interfered. In language accommodated to our human modes of thought and 
expression, the Lord said, " Let us go down, and then confound their language, 
that they may not understand one another's speech" (verse 7). God is jealous of 
His honour, and to presume to that is to tempt justice. 2. God often interferes 
effectualhi by unexpected means. He confounded the language of these builders of 
Babel. Tliev might have had, even in their presumption, a vague suspicion that 
God would be able to overthrow their work. But they could hardly have 
imagined that an arrest would have been put _ upon their labours in so 
extraordinary a manner as the confusion of their speech. God has many 
ways by which He can bring men to a sense of His Divine sovereignty. He 
can reach men in the very depths of their nature by sudden and unexpected 
means. These foolish builders imagined that they were safe in the unity of 
their speech, yet it was here that they were vanquished. 
208 



CHAP. XI. 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



IV. A premature attempt to realise that better time coming for humanity. 

By means of their gigantic work tlie builders of Babel sought to promote unity, 
peace, and harmony among their fellow-men. These were objects in themselves 
good, but they attempted to secure them by improper means. They tried to 
realise the gifts of a later and better age. Men shall be one, and live in peace ; 
but for this blessed condition of humanity we must be content to wait. The 
Bible teaches that there is a bright future for the race. When the kingdom of 
God is fully established amongst men, unity and peace will prevail. That 
blessed idea was for a moment realised when the Spirit was given on the day of 
Pentecost (Acts iv. 32). Socialism has endeavoured to bring about this state of 
things, but the time is unripe. Such systems for the improvement of mankind 
only lay hold upon fragments of the truth. There is a unity possible for 
humanity, but it is inward, not outward ; something out of sight — purely 
spiritual. Christianity can alone secure this blessing for mankind. As the 
hand and the foot have no direct connection, but each is connected with one 
centre of life, so when men have deep and intimate relations with Christ they 
liave the most real union among themselves. The gifts of Christianity are one 
faith and love, making mankind one. The Christian idea of history is, that God 
intends, by means of Christ, to build the human race into a true unity, and 
every attempt to gain that glorious end, apart from that idea, is vain. The 
setting up of the kingdom of God on earth is the grand consummation for which 
all spiritual men yearn, but that can only be accomplished by spiritual laws. 
The work of all Babel-builders is doomed to perish. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 



Verse 1. The possession of a common 
language is a great promoter of unity 
of thought and purpose. 

What mankind was in regard to 
unity of language is what God designs 
them to be in Gospel times, but in a 
deeper and more real sense. It is the 
work of Christ to make men one in 
faith, hope, and love. Such a unity 
of conviction, feeling, and aspiration 
would teach men to speak the same 
thing (I Cor. i. 10). 

It is worthy of remark that the 
modern researches into language have 
recognised the original affinity of most 
known languages to one common 
original speech. The sundering and 
parting of the nations is God's own 
work. As labour was the penalty for 
the sin of Paradise, so is separation the 
punishment for this sin of pride. In 
both cases, however, was the punish- 
ment at the same time a blessing. — 
(Caliver.) 

Sin perverts the sweet blessing of 
one speech to conspiracy against God. 
(Hughes.) 



Verse 2. Men easily discover a place 
whereon to erect the monuments of 
their ambition. They are permitted to 
defy heaven, though that liberty be an 
awful gift. 

Wickedness dwells where it finds a 
fitting place for its purpose. 

It is not difficult to suggest a number 
of reasons to show that the land of 
Shinar was the centre from whence a 
thorough and entire distribution of the 
human race over the face of the whole 
earth could be most readily and con- 
veniently made ; and as the Valley of 
the Euphrates was the route which, of 
all others, was the best suited to con- 
duct the founders of post-diluvian 
society to the place so peculiarly fitted 
for their subsequent dispersion, we are 
warranted in supposing that the strand- 
ing of the ark occurred at some spot in 
the vicinity of that valley, from whence 
the descent was easy, and free from 
the immense difficulties that must 
have impeded the passage down the 
declivities of the lofty Agridagh. — 
(Bush.) 
T 209 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. XI. 



The preference for the hill-country 
does not appear to have belonged to 
the young humanity. Under the most 
obvious points of view, convenience, 
fertility, and easier capability of culti- 
vation seem to have given to these 
children of nature a preference for the 
plain. Zahn gives extracts from Hippo- 
crates and Herodotus in proof of the 
singular productiveness of this land of 
the palm, where the grain yields from two 
hundred to three hundred fold. Thence 
came luxury, which was followed by 
the cultivation of the paradisiacal gar- 
dens (gardens of Semiramis) and a life 
of sensuality, together with a sensual 
religious worship. — (Lange.) 

Sinners make the gifts of nature to 
minister to impiety and pride. 

Men rebel against God, even where 
His plentiful goodness is most manifest. 

Verse 3. Sinners encourage each 
other in their rebellion against God. 

The arts of life and the free produc- 
tions of nature may be pressed into 
the service of iniquity. 

Moses would intimate that they 
were not prompted to the work by the 
facilities that offered themselves, but 
that they were disposed to contend 
with great and arduous obstacles — a 
circumstance that w^ent to enhance the 
greatness of the crime, for how could 
it be that they should thus wear and 
exhaust themselves in this laborious 
exercise unless because they had set 
themselves in a frenzied opposition to 
God ? Difficulty often deters us from 
necessary works, but they, without 
stones or mortar, do not scruple to at- 
tempt an edifice that should transcend 
the clouds ! Their example teaches us 
to what lengths ambition will urge 
men who give way to their unhallowed 
lustings. — (Calvin. ) 

Verse 4. Their only object was to 
found a universal monarchy, by which 
all the families of the earth, in all 
future ages, might be held in subjection. 
A very little reflection will convince 
us that such a scheme must of necessity 
be founded in ambition ; that it re- 
quired union, and of course a city, to 
210 



carry it into execution ; that a tower 
or citadel was also necessary to repel 
those who might be disposed to dispute 
their claims ; and that if these mea- 
sures were once carried into effect, 
there was nothing in the nature of 
things to ^:>r<?vg«i the accomplishment 
of their design. — (Ftiller.) 

It can scarcely be doubted that the 
ancient heathen fable of the attempt 
of the giants to climb the heavens owes 
its origin to some distorted traditions 
relative to this fact. The memory of 
the design of the builders of Babel 
being handed down in its native bold- 
ness of expression to nations un- 
acquainted with the Mosaic history 
and with Eastern language, who were 
also fond of the marvellous and skilful 
in fable, would very naturally give rise 
to the story of the Titan's war with 
heaven and the discomfiture which 
followed. — (Bush.) 

For the distinction and pre-eminence 
of a " name " men will toil against all 
difficulties. They scruple not to pre- 
sume to the habitation of God if they 
may thus exalt themselves. 

The wildest schemes of ambition are 
consistent with a calm deliberation of 
purpose. These men could carefully 
design and plan a city and a tower. 

Their declared object was to make 
to themselves a name. This was the 
proud aim of heathenism — to attain to 
glory without God, by human wisdom 
and might. The nations henceforth 
walk in their own ways (Acts xiv. 16), 
until, from their vain and scattered 
attempts, they are re-united in 
Jerusalem in the Pentecost — a speci- 
men only of what remains to be realised. 
— (Jacobus.) 

To make themselves a name, men 
are ready to dishonour the name of God. 

The Babel-builders opposed the de- 
sign of God in scattering them over 
the face of the earth, but God has 
many ways of accomplishing His will. 

No name which men can make, 
without the help and approval of God, 
can be lasting. 

Verse 5. The language which de- 
scribes the ways of God to man must 



CHAP. XI. 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



be accommodated to our infirmity and 
imperfect knowledge. We are taught 
thus to study simplicity in describing 
the Divine operations. 

However long God may delay, yet 
He will surely interfere with the de- 
signs of evil men. 

All human history shows a Provi- 
dence, but there are marked epochs 
when God distinctly appears. There 
are events which summon the attention 
of men to the Power above them. 

Sinners sometimes imagine that God 
is far from the world, but there are 
times when the conviction is forced 
upon them that He is near. 

The children of men, whether for 
weal or woe, must in the end be 
brought face to face with God. 

There is something here charac- 
teristic of the times after the deluge. 
The presence of the Lord seems not to 
have been withdrawn from the earth 
before that event. He walked in the 
garden when Adam and Eve were 
there. He placed the ministers and 
symbols of His presence before it when 
they were expelled. He expostulated 
with Cain before and after his awful 
crime. He saiv the wickedness of man, 
and the land was corrupt before Him. 
.... In all this He seems to have 
been present with man on earth. He 
lingered in the garden as long as His 
forbearance could be expected to in- 
fluence man for good. He at length 
appointed the limit of one hundred 
and twenty years. And after watching 
over Noah during the deluge, He 
seems to have withdrawn His visible 
and gracious presence from the earth. 
Hence the propriety of the phrase, 
"The Lord came down." He still 
deals in mercy with a remnant of the 
human race, and has visited the earth 
and manifested His presence in a won- 
drous way. But He has not yet taken 
up His abode among men, as He did 
in the garden, and as He intimates 
that He will sometime do on the 
renovated earth. — (Murphy.) 

It was not merely the " city " and 
the " tower " which God came down 
to see, but rather the apostacy, rebel- 
lion, and pride of which they were the 



outward manifestations. God proceeds 
from the work to the doers of it. The 
Divine judgment comes home to the 
individual. 

1. The wickedness of these con- 
federates : they were all sons of Adam, 
apostate, perishing, in his image. 
2. The weakness of them. They were 
but sons of the dust who thus set 
themselves to build against God. 
Jehovah descends to take notice of 
these, who are but as the dust of the 
balance before Him. — (Hughes.) 

Verse 6. In like simplicity is de- 
picted the self-willed, God-defying 
spirit of combination and ambition 
which had now budded in the imagi- 
nation of man. The people is one, one 
race with one purpose. And they have 
all one lip. They understand one 
another's mind. No misunderstanding 
has arisen from diversity of language. 
This is their beginning. The beginning 
of sin, like that of strife, is as when 
one letteth out water. The Lord sees 
in this commencement the seed of 
growing evil. All sin is dim and small 
in its first rise ; but it swells by insen- 
sible degrees to the most daring and 
gigantic proportions. And now nothing 
ivill be restrained from them which 
they have imagined to do. Now that 
they have made this notable beginning 
of concentration, ambition, and renown, 
there is nothing in this way which 
they will not imagine or attempt. — 
(Murphy.) 

God is represented as taking counsel 
with Himself. He acts not from mere 
will, but from eternal reasons — " after 
the counsel of His will." Deliberation 
suits the majesty of the Supreme Ruler. 

Men would carry out many evil 
designs to a successful issue if they 
were not restrained by the Providence 
of God. 

The depravity of human nature is 
under control during the course of the 
present moral government of God. 
Were every man permitted freely to 
carry out all the evil in his heart, 
society could not exist. 

In God's dealings with mankind the 
facts of human nature are accepted. 

211 



EOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



CHAP. xr. 



The ironical element in the rule 
of the Divine righteousness appears 
again in the history of the tower 
building, after its grandest display in 
the primitive time. It is just from the 
false striving after the idol of an out- 
ward national unity, that God suffers 
to go forth the dispersing of the nations. 
Without doubt, too, is there an ironical 
force in the words, " and now nothing 
will be restrained from them." — 
(Lange^ 

Proud and presumptuous under- 
takings are a scorn and derision to 
God. — {Hughes.) 

Verse 7. God has many ways — and 
often unexpected ones — of bringing 
the counsel of the wicked to nought. 

The judgment might have been 
executed upon the works of these 
daring men, but God chose rather to 
afflict themselves by bringing disorder 
into their ow^i powers. God has access 
to the innermost recesses of man's 
nature. 

The Providence of God often takes 
away from men the gifts which they 
have abused. Men are punished in 
those instruments which minister to 
their iniquity. 

Whatever was the precise change 
wrought in human language, it was 
with the express object of making the 
builders unintelligible to each other — 
so as to break up their unity of action. 
The Scripture gives us here the only 
history of the division of mankind 
into peoples by means of different 
tongues. And the Scripture also tells 
us how, under the Gospel, national 
distinctions were broken down in order 
to introduce a universal Church (Acts 
viii. 14). — {Jacobus.) 

Hence we perceive that the inter- 
position of Providence in confounding 
the lip of mankind, is the historical 
solution of the enigma of philology, 
the existence of diversity of language 
at the same time with the natural 
persistency of form, and the historical 
unity of the human race. The data 
of philology, indicating that the form 
is the side of language needing to be 
touched in order to produce diversity, 
212 



coincide also with the facts here 
narrated. The preternatural diversi- 
fication of the form, moreover, marks 
the order amid variety which prevailed 
in this great revolution of mental 
habitude. It is not necessary to sup- 
pose that seventy languages were pro- 
duced from one at the very crisis of 
this remarkable change, but only the 
few generic forms that sufficed to effect 
the Divine purpose, and by their inter- 
action to give origin to all subsequent 
varieties of language or dialect. Nor 
are we to imagine that the variant 
principles of formation went into prac- 
tical development all at once, but only 
that they started a process which, in 
combination with other operative 
causes, issued in all the diversities of 
speech Avhich are now exhibited in the 
human race. — (Murphy.) 

The confusion of tongues has done 
much towards separating the families 
of mankind. Each nation becomes 
bound up in its own interests, and 
strange or hostile towards all others. 
Difference of language makes men 
barbarians towards one another. 

Herein God opposeth Himself to the 
sons of Adam. They aim at getting 
a name, and to prevent dispersion. 
God is resolved to make them that they 
shall not understand their own names, 
nor the speech of their neighbours. — 
{Hughes.) 

The spirit of hatred was the cause 
of the sundering and scattering of the 
human family ; the spirit of love can 
alone make them one. 

The division of languages, though 
an obstacle to schemes of human am- 
bition, will not be suffered to be an 
obstacle to the triumph of the cause 
of God. Of this, God Himself gave a 
proof and pledge, in the miracle wrought 
on the day of Pentecost — the counter- 
part of the miracle at Babel, The 
separation of nations will not hinder 
the unity of faith. At this very time, 
the increasing facility of intercourse, 
the increasing use of our own tongue 
over vast continents in the East and 
West, and the familiar mingling of 
natives of various lands, are rapidly 
diminishing the difficulties which dif- 



CHAP. XI, 



HOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



fereuces of language occasion ; and 
whether, literally, these differences are 
to disappear, or are merely to become 
innocuous, assuredly, in the end, there 
shall be one "lip," and one Lord, and 
one heart for all. — (Candlish.) 

Verse 8. The effect of the Divine 
interposition is here noted. And the 
Lord scattered them abroad. Not 
understanding one another's mode of 
speech, they feel themselves practically 
separated from one another. Unity of 
counsel and of action becomes im- 
possible. Misunderstanding naturally 
follows, and begets mistrust. Diversity 
of interest grows up, and separation 
ensues. Those who have a common 
speech retreat from the centre of union 
to a sequestered spot, where they may 
form a separate community among 

themselves The dispersion of 

mankind at the same time put an end to 
the ambitious projects of the few. They 
left off to build the city. It is probable 
that the people began to see through 
the plausible veil which the leaders 
had cast over their selfish ends. The 
city would be abandoned to the imme- 
diate party of Nimrod. Its dwellings 
would probably be too numerous for 
the remaining inhabitants. — {]\Iur2)hy.) 

Human plans are confounded that 
the Divine order may proceed from 
them. Such is the course of the 
world's history. — (Krummacher.) 

Human iniquity may be overruled 
for good. God is ever, in the course 
of His providence, bringing good out 
of evil. He makes the " wrath of man 
to praise Him," and when the "re- 
mainder " of that wrath can but issue 
in a purpose only evil He " restrains " 
it, so that becomes ineffectual. 

How liable are the schemes of un- 
godly men to be interrupted and 
defeated in the midst of their execution. 
The builders of Babel had made con- 
siderable progress, and were, doubtless, 
anticipating the satisfaction they should 
experience in its completion. But they 

were arrested in mid career 

The eager aspirants for happiness form 
their plans ; they prosecute their de- 
signs; they advance in their prospects ; 



partial success animates them to more 
diligent exertions ; but sooner or later 
God stops them in their progress, and 
either dashes all their labours to the 
dust, or says to them, "Thou fool, this 
night shall thy soul be required of 
thee." Consider, too, the means which 
God took to effect His purpose. They 
were the most unlooked-for that could 
be imagined. And thus does God 
interpose to disappoint the expecta- 
tions of worldly men ! He has teu 
thousand ways to render their plans 
abortive; or to embitter to them the 
very things in which they have sought 
their happiness. We have laboured 
for honour and distinction. He suffers 
us, perhaps, to attain our wishes, and 
then makes our elevation a source of 
nothing but disquietude and pain. 
Many have looked for enjoyment in 
the acquisition of a partner, or a 
family, who after a time would give 
the world, perhaps, to loose the indis- 
soluble knot, or to have been written 
childless in the earth. In short, the 
Governor of the universe is never at a 
loss for means to confound the devices 
of the wise, or frustrate the counsels of 
the ungodly. — (Bush.) 

All systems of philosophy — so-called 
— which through the pride of the 
human intellect have presumed to 
subvert God's truth, or impiously to 
intrude within that shadow of mystery 
which He has cast around His throne, 
shall be brought to nought, and the 
Babel speech of error be confounded, 

0, sons of earth ! attempt ye still to rise, 
By mountains piled on mountains, to the skies ! 
Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys, 
And buries madmen in the heaps they raise. 

— Poj^e. 

Traditions relate that the tower was 
demolished by the lightning, with ter- 
rible tempest. Yet it has been sup- 
posed that the immense pyramidal 
tower built thereabouts by Nebuchad- 
nezzar was erected on the site and 
ruins of this tower. In the ruins that 
are now found in that vicinity there is 
the appearance of a conflagration, the 
bricks seeming to have been run into 
solid masses by the action of extreme 
heat. A Jewish tradition given by 

213 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. chap. xi. 



Bochart declares that fire fell from gives us the best idea of the ancient 

heaven and split the tower through to Babylonian temple tower, and may 

its foundation. The distance of the show us the probable character and 

modern Birs Nimrud from Babylon is shape of the building, at least better 

the great difficulty in the way of its than any other ruin. — (Jacobus.) 
identification. Yet the Birs temple 



MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 10-26. 

The Generation's of Shem. 

" These are the generations." This is the usual phrase, employed in several 
places in this book, to mark a new development in the history. Here, it marks 
the beginning of the fifth document, in which the generations of Shem are 
recorded. As is often the case with such genealogies, some links are wanting, 
but a sufficient number are given to indicate the general course of the history. 
The details of the record are governed by the main purpose of the historian, 
wliich was to introduce us to Abraham through the line of Shem. The object 
of the Bible is not to satisfy a minute and prjang curiosity, but to put us in 
possession of the great facts upon which the doctrines of salvation are based. 
We learn from this document : — 

I. The line in which the knowledge of the true God was preserved. Shem 
was destined to preserve the name of God through all the corruptions of the 
old world. The knowledge of God might have perished from the earth, had 
not one people been selected to preserve it. The wisdom of God therefore 
provided a home for the safe custody of His truth and the maintenance of His 
worship. This was necessary because the nations had now begun to depart 
from the living God. Not content with ungodliness, they fell into positive error 
— into all the absurdities of polytheism and idolatry. The hope of the human 
race henceforth centres in the chosen people. It is because of the precious 
interests of this hope that the Bible confines itself mainly to the history of one 
people, which though insignificant in themselves, were truly great on account of 
the purpose of their existence. The very phrase, " The King of the Jews," 
shows that the Messiah King was to arise out of that nation. The Bible is not 
a history of all men, but a history of the kingdom of God, and therefore the 
heathen nations gradually drop from the sacred page, and only appear at distant 
intervals when they come in conflict with the chosen people. All things in 
Scripture are subordinated to its main purpose. We learn also — 

II. The direction of the stream of history towards the Messiah. If we can 
say that " the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy " (Rev. xix. 10), 
we may also affirm that the spirit of sacred history centres in the same testimony. 
In the records of the chosen people, we can discover a movement towards a 
sublime end. The promise of a Messiah was at first vaguely given, but in 
process of time it grew clearer in outline, and richer with concentrated blessing. 
It increased in definiteness until " God was manifest in the flesh." " God calmly 
and resolutely proceeds with His purpose of mercy. In the accomplishment of 
this eternal purpose He moves with all the solemn gTandeur of long suffering 
patience. One day is with Him as a thousand years, and a thousand years as 
one day. Out of Adam's three sons He selects one to be the progenitor of the 
seed of the woman. Out of Noah's three sons He again selects one. And now 
out of Terah's three is one to be selected. Among the children of this one He 
will choose a second one, and among his a third one before He reaches the holy- 
family. Doubtless this gradual mode of proceeding is in keeping with the here- 
ditary training of the holy nation, and the due adjustment «f the Divine 

214 



CHAP, XI. EOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



measures, for at length bringing the fuhiess of the Gentiles in tlie covenant of 
everlasting peace." — (Murphy.) We learn further — 

III. The gradual narrowing of human life. As a judgment upon the sin 
of the old world, God determined to contract the duration of human life. That 
judgment was iiot inflicted at once._ The threatened limit was but slowly- 
reached. God is not in haste to inflict penalty. His justice proceeds with a 
solemn majesty of movement. In this history, which shows how the span of 
life is gradually narrowing, it would appear as if the old energy does but slowly 
leave 1;he children of men. " In the manifold weakenings of the highest life 
endurance, in the genealogy of them, there are, nevertheless, distinctly observ- 
able a number of abrupt breaks — (1) from Shem to Arphaxad, or from 600 
years to 438 ; (2) from Eber to Peleg, or from 464 years to 239 ; (3) from 
Serug to Nahor, or from 230 years to 148 ; beyond which last, again, there 
extend the lives of Terah, with his 205, and of Abraham, with his 175 years. 
Farther on we have Isaac with 180 years, Jacob 147, and Joseph 110. So 
gradually does the human term of life approach the limit set by the Psalmist 
(Ps. xc. 10). Moses reached the age of 120 years. The deadly efficacy goes on 
still in the bodily sphere, although the counter-working of salvation has com- 
menced in the spiritual." — (Lange.) 

SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VERSES. 

Verses 10, 11. The general title is to us, upon whom the ends of the 

expressed thus, " These are the genera- world are come. 5. To make us 

tions of Shem." Of these Moses was better understand some passages of the 

speaking, chap, x, so far as Peleg, prophets mentioning these persons or 

whose name being given him upon the their conditions. 6. To show us the 

occasion of dividing the earth ; by true line of Christ, and to confirm the 

way of parenthesis, he includes the New Testament given by Him. Every 

history and cause of this earth's divi- generation in the Church from the 

sion, in the former part of this chapter, flood is but to bring Christ nearer. — 

He now returns to draw up the line (Hughes.) 

full unto Abram, about which this title A second Kenan is inserted after 

is set in the front. Consider the use Arpakshad in the Septuagint, and in 

of all these mentioned in the title, the Gospel according to Luke. But 

1. To point out where the Church of this name does not occur even in the 

God was after the flood. 2. To show Septuagint in 1 Chron. i. 24, where the 

God's Providence in singling out some genealogy of Abraham is given. It is 

generations in the world for His Church, not found in the Samaritan Pentateuch, 

these and not others. 3. To make the Targums, or the ancient versions, 

known to us the state of the Church It does not appear in Josephus or 

either for truth or for corruption at Philo. Neither is it found in the 

this time. 4. To continue to us the Codex Bezae in the Gospel of Luke, 

right chronology of the world, not for It must therefore be regarded as an 

speculation only, but for pious practice interpolation, — (Murphy.) 

MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.— Verses 21 -Z2. 

The Dawn of Abram's History. 

Here we have the commencement of the sixth document, indicated by the 

usual preface, " These are the generations." This portion is intended to bring 

Abram before us, and therefore goes to the roots of his history, showing us from 

what a source so eminent an example of righteousness sprung. The history is 

• 215 



EOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. chap. xi. 



brief, but it may be considered as a condensed outline of Abraham's life. Here 
we find him — 

I, Possessed of great moral courage. Terah, the father of Abram, was an 
idolater (Josh. xxiv. 2). Both himself and his children were ignorant of the 
true object of worsiiip, or if they had any knowledge of this, they did not retain 
that knowledge, but suffered themselves to be led away by the impiety around 
them. Such is the hole of the pit from whence this sublime character was 
digged. Abram is the next great name in the sacred record to Noah, and their 
moral histories are very similar. Noah passed through the flood, and through 
an age of extraordinary wickedness to the victory of faith ; and Abram passed 
through heathenism to become the chief example, in those early times, of belief 
in God. Abram had the moral courage to leave these idolatrous associations. 
In verse 31 Terah, his father, is represented as the leader of the migration to 
Canaan. But it is probable that the history in chap. xii. is anticipated, and 
that Abram listening to the Divine call, persuaded his father also to obey. 
The courage of the father of the faithful influenced all his family, and they 
were ready to follow the leading of the Providence of God to better things. The 
great moral revolutions of the world have been brought about by the influence 
of men to whom God had spoken. By obeying the early suggestions of the 
Divine Spirit, men have been led on to glorious results, of which at the first 
they had no suspicion. Here also we find Abram — 

II. Under the shadow of a future trial. (Verse 30.) Sarai's barrenness was, 
no doubt, a great trial to him, in that early age when men naturally desired a 
numerous offspring. But in his subsequent history this circumstance was not 
only a natural cause of regret, but it raised a difficulty in the ivay of his faith. 
This fact stood in his way, and for long years he had to endure the conflict of 
hoping against hoi3e. The shadow of a coming trial now rested upon Abraham 
in order that his faith might prove itself strong by encountering difficulties. 



SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS ON THE VEESES. 

Verse 27. The present paragraph is the greatest religious and social revo- 

of special interest for tlie coming lutions which the world has known, 

history. Its opening word and (A. V. we often find it in a small group of 

notv), intimates its close connection men. 
with the preceding document ; and, 

accordingly, we observe that the one Verse 28. Properly, in his presence, 
is merely introductory to the other, so that he must have seen it ; it does 
The various characters brought forward not, therefore, mean simply in his life- 
are all of moment. Terah is the time. The first case of a natural death 
patriarch and leader of the migration of a son before the death of his father, 
for part of the way. Abram is the is anew sign of increasing mortality. — 
subject of the following narrative. {Lange.) 

Nahor is the grandfather of Pebekah. Death is described as the land 

Haran is the father of Lot, the com- " without any order," and truly with- 

panion of Abram, of Milcah, the wife out any order does he snatch away the 

of Nahor, and grandmother of Re- sons of men. He strikes down the 

bekah, and of Iskah. Iskah alone seems children before the face of their 

to have no connection with the subse- parents, 
quent narrative. — ( Murphy. ) Providence ordaineththe land of the 

Small hath the line of the Church nativity of some to be the place of their 

been from the beginning, in comparison expiring. — (Hughes.) 
with the line of the world. — (Hughes.) 

If we seek for the origin of some of Verse 29. Sarai was, according to 



216 



• 



CHAP. XI. 



EOMILETIC COMMENTARY : GENESIS. 



chap. XX. 12, the daughter of Terah 
by another wife than Abram's mother, 
and was ten years younger than her 
husband (chap. xvii. n).—(Alford.) 

Verse 30. 1. The subject spoken of, 
Scwai ; she that was to be the mother 
of the Church, of whom, purposely, the 
Spirit writeth this which followeth to 
show forth the power of God. 2. The 
condition spoken of her — under two 
expressions. (1) She ivas barren, i.e., 
naturally she was so, and that from 
her youth and first marriage — the fitter 
object for God to work upon by His 
power. (2) To her was no child. That 
is, hitherto she had no child, when she 
w\as now taking her journey with her 
husband and grandfather. God records 
the trials of His saints, not for their 
reproach but for His own glory. — 
(Hughes.) 

Long and silent trials are often the 
portion of the greatest saints. 

Verse 31. It is evident from chap, 
xii. 1, that this expedition was under- 
taken in consequence of the Divine 
call to Abraham to come out from a 
land of idolators ; but from the defer- 
ence paid to the head of a family, 
Terah is here represented as chief in 
the movement, though really acting in 
obedience to the monitions of his son. 
Nahor and his wife Milcah, it would 
appear, were unwilling to go, at least 
at present ; yet as we find them in the 
course of the history settled at Haran, 
and Abraham and Isaac sending to 
them for wives, we may conclude that 
they afterwards " repented and went." 
Thus the whole of Terah's family, 
though they did not go to Canaan, yet 
were probably preserved from Chaldean 
idolatry, and fixing themselves in 
Haran, maintained for a considerable 
time the worship of the true God. The 
narrative suggests to us, that while the 
most exemplary marks of respect are 
due from children to parents, yet 
parents themselves may sometimes 
foe called to follow their children as 
leaders, when they have obtained 
clearer light as to the path of duty, 
and go forth at. the evident call of 



God. But even in such cases a proper 
spirit of filial reverence will give as 
much precedency as possible to parental 
actions. — (Bush.) 

A godly man in the performance of 
the highest duties will consider the 
claims of natural propriety. St. Paul 
does not scruple to refer the Corinthians 
to the teaching of nature, and to urge 
them to have regard to what is seemly. 

Religious duty can be performed so 
as not to interfere with the claims of 
natural relationship. 

Terah's migration to Canaan — (1) Its 
spirited beginning ; (2) its failure to 
go on. Abraham and his kinsmen — 
(1) He was probably the author of the 
movement ; (2) they, probably, the 
cause of his tarrying in Haran. — 
(Lange.) 

St. Paul tells us that Abraham went 
forth " not knowing whither he went." 
Here it is stated that the " land of 
Canaan " was the object and purpose 
of this migration. So it was in the 
Divine destination, but not as a definite 
resolve of their own. The historian 
evidently writes from the standpoint 
of subsequent facts. They went forth 
under the leading of Providence, having 
just light enough for each successive 
portion of the journey — the end not 
yet revealed. Faith asks not to see 
the whole of its course spread before 
it, but only light enough to take the 
next step. He who gives that faith 
will take care of the whole course, and 
secure the success of the end. 

They came to Haran, and dwelt 
there. Broken down with fatigue, he 
halts for a season at Haran to recruit 
his wasted powers. Filial piety, no 
doubt, kept Abram watching over the 
last days of his venerable parent, who, 
probably, still clung to the fond hope 
of reaching the land of his adoption. 
Hence, they all abode in Haran for the 
remainder of the five years from the 
date of Abram's call to leave his native 
land . — (Mil rphy. ) 

Verse 32, Time and place are ap- 
pointed to die as to be born in. It is 
good to be ready in every place. — 
(Hughes.) 
' 217 



HOMILETIC COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Terali was two hundred and five 
years old. If Abram, therefore, was 
seventy-five years old when he migrated 
from Mesopotamia, and Terah was 
seventy-five years old at his birth, 
then must Abraham have set forth 
sixty years before the death of Terah. 
And this is very important. The 
migration had a religious motive which 
would not allow him to wait till the 
death of his father. As Delitzsch 
remarks, the manner of representation 
in Genesis disposes of the history of 
the less important personages before 
relating the main history. The Sama- 
ritan text has set the age of Terah at 
one hundred and forty-five, under the 
idea that Abraham did not set out on 
his migration until after the death of 
Haran. The representation of Stephen 
(Acts vii. 4) connects itself with the 
general course of the narration. — 
(Lange.) 

Terah, like Moses, failed to enter 
the Land of Promise. God had pro- 
vided for him a better country, where 
the purposes so incompletely fulfilled 
here will reach completion. There are 
no broken and rudimentary structures 
in the city of God. 

We are forcibly reminded of our 
pilgrim state by the fact that many of 



God's people have died on journeys. 
However imperfectly we may have 
realised our ideal of life, it is well to 
be prepared for that last solemn jour- 
ney which we must take alone, and 
where no help can avail but the rod 
and staff of God. 

The history here given of the post- 
diluvians has a striking resemblance in 
structure to that of the ante-diluviaus. 
The preservation of Noah from the 
waters of the flood is the counterpart of 
the creation of Ad am, after the land had 
risen out of the roaring deep. The 
intoxication of Noah by the fruit of a 
tree corresponds with the fall of Adam 
by eating the fruit of a forbidden tree. 
The worldly policy of Nimrod and his 
builders is parallel with the city- 
building and njany inventions of the 
Cainites. The pedigree of Abram, the 
tenth from Shem, stands over against 
the pedigree of Noah, the tenth from 
Adam. And the paragraph now before 
us bears some resemblance to that 
which precedes the personal history of 
Noah. All this tends to strengthen 
the impression made by some other 
phenomena already noticed, that the 
book of Genesis is the work of one 
author, and not a mere pile of docu- 
ments by different writers. — (Murphy.) 



ILLUSTRATIONS ON CHAPTER XL 



BY THE 
EEV. WM. ADAMSON. 



Motive in History ! Ver. 1-9. (1) It has 
been suggested by Hopkins that the primal 
disobedience of Adam and Eve is stated not 
to show forth its strangeness, but to disclose — 
in the several scenes which were its immediate 
consequents — the wondrous affectionateness of 
Him who liad been disobeyed. And this is 
done with the pen of a master. And so with 
the homicide of Cain, and the vices of the 
antediluvians ; they are used as a foil to bring 
out a vivid illustration of the Divine gentle- 
ness. It is true that these all reveal to us 
that God is a consuming fire towards sin, and 
wilful, obstinate sinners ; but even these re- 
velations are like the dark background which 
the artist places to set out more conspicuously 
his " designs of fair colours." (2) Why may we 
not suppose that the same paramount purpose 
stands out in bold relief all along the Mosaic 
book, and thus includes the Babel narrative ? 
218 



The Divine goodness appears like a rainbow 
S23anning the dark cloud of human pride and 
ambition. There is the " Tongue Tower " 
ruin, but it lies in Gen. ix. as the plant lies, 
out of whose root springs a more vigorous 
stem and beautiful flower than before the wind 
and storm broke its first shoot. It reminds us 
of the savannah of the west which the fire has 
scorched — upon whose brown bare bosom the 
showers of rain fall, to make the wilderness 
and solitary place glad, and the blistered desert 
to bloom as the rose. Divine gentleness 
revealed ! Such is the primary (we do not say 
the only) motive in Gen. ix. 

" Then let us sing, our shrouded way thus 

wending. 

Life's hidden snares among, 
Of mercy, and of judgment sweetly blending 

Earth's sad but lovely song. — Maanillan. 



CHAP. XI. 



EOMILETIO COMMENTARY: GENESIS. 



Word- Witnesses ! Ver. 1-9. The long-lost 
records of Babylonia and Assyria promise, when 
fully examined, to throw a flood of light not only 
upon Divine Revelation, but upon the history, 
religious and social status of great primeval 
nations, whose names, and some of whose acts, 
are mentioned in Scripture. Very much, 
Professor Porter, has yet to be done by the 
traveller and the excavator before the sources 
of information contained on sculptured slabs 
and inscribed tablets have been reached. 
When that is done, a still more difficult task 
will remain in the classification of the materials 
and the deciphering of the records. But we 
look forward hopefully, and may confidently 
anticipate the most complete success. Testi- 
mony clear and indisputable will then be 
furnished to the matchless truthfulness of the 
Word of God by the ruins of 

" Bel's cloud-capt tower, her gorgeous palaces, 
Her solemn temples, her 'Tongue-Tow'r itself." 

Genesis and Chaldean Legions ! Ver. 1-9. 
(1) Before the Chaldean discoveries by Smith, 
those who wished to believe the Genesis nar- 
rative a myth roundly asserted that it was a 
chimera of some crazed mind, or the creation 
of some corrupt one. No sooner, however, 
was the discovery made, and the correctness of 
the cuneiform inscription cipher attested, than 
the same enemies, whose wish was father to 
the thought, asserted that the Chaldean 
accounts were legendary, and that the Genesis 
nan'ative was also legendary because de- 
rived from these same Chaldean historical 
myths. (2) The simple brevity of the history 
in Genesis is familar ; whereas, Gardiner 
points out that the Chaldean inscriptions are 
obscure, verbose, and swelling out at every 
point with the monstrosities of early mytho- 
logy. It is as if a modern scholar should sit 
down to pick out the grains of truth in the 
prehistoric myths of ancient Greece, and 
having set them down soberly, should then be 
told that his work must itself be legendary 
because derived from legendary sources. (3) 
Even though Abraham did analyse these 
Chaldean legends with matchless skill and 
penetration, and drew from them for our use 
the simple history out of which they had 
gradually grown, this would not affect the 
truthfulness of his work. And if we add that 
Abraham (or Moses) was divinely inspired to 
recover the original truth from this mass of 
legend, the tnithfulness and trustworthiness of 
the Genesis narrative is placed beyond dispiite, 

" Whence, bi;t from heaven, could men un- 
skilled in arts. 
In several ages born, in several parts, 
Weave such agreeing truths. — Dryden. 

Babel Bricks ! Vers. 2-4. These emigrants 
to Sliinar were evidently dissatisfied with a 
patriarchal life, and desirous of founding a 
great monarchy. I. Ambition, or the Perver- 
sion of the divinely-implanted principle, 
"Excelsior." It (1) cautions us to beware of 



our own hearts, and (2) counsels us to be careful 
of the Divine Will. II. Assumption, or the 
Pre-supposition of man's independence of God. 
It (1) cautions us to remember our entire 
dependence, and (2) counsels us to regard the 
Divine jDre-eminence as essential to our hap- 
piness. III. Association, or the Persuasion 
that human vinity means human perpetuity. 
It (1) cautions us against forgetting that God 
must come into any scheme after unity, and 
(2) counsels us about fulfilling the Divine Ideal 
of unity in Him. Lessons: (1) Moral Towers 
of Babel (great or small) should be erected in 
God's name, and carried through in God's 
strength ; (2) Moral Towers of Babel (great or 
small), if not so attempted and accomplished, 
tend to dishonour God's name, and to disown 
God's strength ; (3) Moral Toivers of Babel 
(great or small) thus dishonouring Him, are 
sure, sooner or later, to be overthrown by God, 
who has all forces at His command ; and (4) 
Moral Toivers of Babel (.great or small) con- 
ceived in God's name, constructed by God's 
sti-ength, and contributing to God's glory, are 
certain of the Divine permission and per- 
manence. Thus, 

" Scripture, in this life-history, unfoldeth 
Some lessons sweet to me ; 
God's goodness in reproof my eye beholdeth,. 
And His severity." 

Shinar Site! Ver. 2. (1) Noah's sons 
would come do^vn from the high lands of 
Armenia and settle in the warmer plains 
below. Journeying from the valley of Araxes, 
they would travel along the eastern side of the 
Koordish mountains, without finding a good 
place to cross th